September 11, 2014
Openly and Pro Gay Candidates Run the Ticket
Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.
Healy Crashes Through Expectations
Hey, maybe low voter turnout isn't so bad after all. Gays, women, progressives were winners in Tuesday's Democratic preliminary race results -which was one for the history books. Most polls predicted a boring ho-hum outcome but, surprisingly, there was enough drama in the results to launch a Bravo franchise. Here are some thoughts:
You're Gay? Who Cares?
I had the pleasure of watching and commenting on the election results with GOP consultant (and friend) Charlie Manning with WBZ TV's Jon Keller. Toward the end of the broadcast (off-air), I turned to Jon and asked if we should note that two Democratic primary winners - Maura Healy for Attorney General and Stephen Kerrigan are openly gay; as is Republican candidate for U.S. Congress seat in District 6 Richard Tisei (who had no primary challenger). He agreed, noting correctly that the fact that we hadn't noted it earlier was the real story. As recently as ten years ago this topic would have been the lead. On Tuesday the candidates' sexual orientation was unimportant.
Maura Healy. BOOM!
Healy ran a perfect campaign and was the perfect candidate. The only thing between her and winning the primary of Attorney General was former state senator Warren Tolman - who is also a progressive and had the backing of unions, the governor, and Boston's mayor. The insider buzz was that Healy would win in a squeaker, but her performance in the Tuesday polls was a force of nature.
Introducing Seth Moulton
U.S. Rep. John Tierney knew before everyone else that he had lost the primary to newcomer Seth Moulton - Tierney gave a "retirement" speech that left everyone wondering if he had indeed conceded to Moulton. Moulton, a progressive, Iraq war veteran, Harvard educated Marine, pulled off the once in a lifetime feat of defeating an incumbent Democratic congressman. Moulton's win presents openly gay GOP candidate Richard Tisei, who came very close to unseating Tierney in the last go round, with a tougher challenger. The LGBT independent community will have to decide between the Massachusetts-style GOPer Tisei, or the progressive Dem Moulton, who mentioned the late great (and openly gay) Rev. Peter John Gomes in his speech.
One Straight White Guy Won
Although it's hard to claim a victory for diversity when everyone was white, there certainly were more choices of white people on the statewide ticket than usual. By now you've heard the phrase "ladies' night" (cue Kool & The Gang), and it's fitting. Martha Coakley, Deb Goldberg, and Maura Healy won (Suzanne Bump was unopposed). Openly gay Stephen Kerrigan topped the Lt. Governor ticket. The lone straight white guy winner was Republican candidate for Governor Charlie Baker.
There Was No LGBT Civil War
Political fireworks erupted earlier in the year when MassEquality endorsed Martha Coakley over Steve Grossman for governor. Both have always been true heroes in the fight for LGBT civil rights. Grossman supporters were shocked the organization would endorse in such a hotly contested primary race; Coakley supporters were shocked that people were shocked. Apparently the Massachusetts LGBT Democratic primary voters can handle choice, as I think most folks in the community are still speaking to each other.
The Gift of Low Turnout
My entire adult life I have hectored and cajoled or motivated and shamed, and basically urged everyone to vote. There were 4.3 million voters registered for Tuesday's primary (that's not even everyone who is legally able to vote - just those who registered). Only about 689,000 people voted. One can blame the lack of an active two party system, ancient voting rituals, corrupt public officials, the Kardashians, whatever. It may actually be that the low voter turnout combined with the openly gay, pro gay and female candidates (including those in the Governor's Council race) allowed the progressive voters to call the shots for once.
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.