Sunday, June 04, 2006

Post-Convention Thoughts & Observations

I hope you all will forgive me for not blogging during this weekend's Democratic State Convention. For blogger's-eye-view coverage of what happened over the weekend, see the relevant posts at Left In Lowell, Mass Revolution Now and Blue Mass. Group. The papers all have their coverage, too, and I particluarly liked this report from the Globe.

As for myself, my experience was completely different. I was one of the Senate District "whips" for Deval Patrick on the convention floor. That meant I was responsible for making sure all of Deval Patrick's delegates were there and to record the votes for the campaign. As such, I was working during the convention -- in constant contact with the campaign -- and I honestly couldn't tell you much of what happened on the stage. I was working during most of the speeches -- I don't even remember the Secretary of State candidates even taking the stage -- and so I can't offer much by way of analysis myself.

Some comments and random observations from my time on the floor:

  • Deb Goldberg probably lost votes because of her video presentation. I didn't catch most of it, but I heard complaints from a couple different sources. Andrea Silbert won at least one vote for her speech.
  • I had my Deval Patrick T-Shirt on backwards the entire day without noticing.
  • Deval Patrick's speech reminded me why I agreed to do this. Other people said they were reenergized by it and offered to do whatever was necessary. When he asked people to stand with him, all his supporters stood up and raised their placards, I turned around -- I could see the entire convention hall from my vantage point at the front on the floor --and just saw a sea of blue. Not only that, but you could hear a pin drop during his speech, at least when people weren't cheering like crazy.
  • Both Tom Reilly and Bill Galvin live in my State Senate district. Both candidates voted for themselves, but Reilly did not vote for a Lieutenant. I imagine that the other gubernatorial candidates did the same. Interestingly enough, Galvin did not cast a vote for Governor, even though he sent a phone message out to supporters in the days before the convention telling them to support Chris Gabrieli.
  • Thank goodness Andrea Silbert and Tim Murray agreed to a voice vote on the second ballot. Someone asked me if I thought Silbert could have won on a roll call vote. If she forced people to stay for another vote, she would have lost whatever goodwill she had, and not only that but more of Murray's base was local than was Silbert's. His delegates would have stuck around; hers had a ferry to catch.
  • Some of the more amusing and improbable rumors I overheard: an imposter in a Tom Reilly T-Shirt was trying to steal convention books from Reilly's whips; Gabrieli supporters were supposedly hanging out by the unpaid delegates table offering to pay the fees in exchange for votes.
  • People kept asking me why it took so long for the party to count the votes when the campaigns likely already knew the results -- we were in every senate district writing them down. Apparently the delay occurred because the campaigns were challenging the vote results. This would have been a good time to vote on charter amendments, if only to pass the time.
  • A group of delegates we had identified as Reilly supporters switched to Gabrieli en masse during the voting. I heard other whips saying similar things happened in their districts. Were we wrong, were they convinced or was a deal made? We may never know.
  • I lost three pounds over the course of the convention day. I'm considering going on an all-convention diet.
I'd never been to a nominating convention before. In fact, I'd never volunteered for a candidate before. In 2002, I voted for Reich, but not much else. In '04, I sent John Kerry a check and voted for him in the general, but that's about it. Deval Patrick inspired me and countless other first-timers to finally get involved. I still can't believe that I went from bystander to coordinating on the convention floor in just a few months. Would I do it again? Ask me again in 2010. If we all work together, that one will be a re-nominating convention.