Paul Loscocco wants you to think that he had an epiphany, a moment when he was forced to come to terms with the “shattering reality’’ that he needed a divorce from Tim Cahill, that he had no moral option but to quit.
And I might believe him, if my head weren’t spinning from all the stories he’s told already.
This governor’s race-turned-soap-opera reached its nadir — I hope — in the past two days. First, independent Tim Cahill sued a raft of his former advisers, citing e-mails that indicate they actively plotted Loscocco’s departure from the Cahill ticket. Then, yesterday afternoon Loscocco, Cahill’s former running mate, issued a tortured statement declaring that he dropped out after Cahill confided that his top political adviser, Neil Morrison, was conspiring with the Deval Patrick campaign against Republican Charlie Baker.
Loscocco offered no evidence whatsoever to support all this.
Allow me to refresh your memory about the recent career of former state senator Loscocco. He began this campaign pleading to become Baker’s running mate. After Baker didn’t want him, he agreed to run with Cahill. He quit Cahill’s campaign last week, saying that he suddenly realized Cahill could not win.
After being accused of leaving the ticket as a result of a backroom deal, he wants to, um, set the record straight.
I’m racking my brain trying to think of a reason to believe someone who begged to be one candidate’s running mate, became someone else’s, dropped off the ticket (in October!) and told multiple stories to explain each of these events.
Not coming up with much. Not coming up with anything.
Just last week, when Loscocco endorsed Baker about 12 seconds after dropping off the Cahill ticket, he could offer no better explanation than the lame notion that he just realized Cahill can’t win. This despite the fact that Cahill was never going to win. You have to wonder why such a stand-up man of principle didn’t disclose right then and there that he couldn’t be part of a campaign that was secretly colluding with Patrick, especially since he was being mocked from Marblehead to the Berkshires. Why wait a week to say you were standing up against dirty tricks, if it’s true?
In a statement late yesterday, Cahill called Loscocco a “tool of Charlie Baker’s sleazy hit team,’’ and, in this context, “tool’’ sounds like an apt description.
This is all bad news for the Republican nominee. The trail of e-mails related to Loscocco’s defection was damning enough for a judge to issue a temporary restraining order against Cahill’s former brain trust. That alone gives Cahill’s accusations more credibility than Loscocco’s screed.
It has never been a secret that the Baker campaign is obsessed with getting Cahill out of this race. That’s why the Republican Governors Association ran ads trashing him, and it us why Baker can’t stop attacking “the governor and the treasurer’’ in debates, as if Cahill were lieutenant governor.
But nothing has worked. Cahill is simply too stubborn to drop out, and while polls vary on his level of support, it remains decent, for a third-party (actually a no-party) candidate. Baker remains unable to close the deal with voters, and while Patrick is not a beloved governor, he’s a great campaigner who may well be capable of closing strongly.
So the urgency of dispatching Cahill has intensified. That’s the only reason anyone ever cared about Paul Loscocco. He seems to be the only person in the state who doesn’t get that.
The political farce of the past 48 hours has been entertaining, but the underlying desperation it reflects may give undecided voters pause about Baker. While persuading an opponent’s running mate to drop out is stupid, leaving a trail of incriminating e-mails could be lethal.
When Paul Loscocco is your best character witness, the questions about your campaign are certain to keep coming.
Adrian Walker is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, this column incorrectly described Paul Loscocco, the former running mate of gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill. Loscocco is a former state representative.