Bay State voters, beleaguered by a seemingly endless string of elections in recent years, will get to pick a new governor next November. It’s a wide open race at this point, with donors and activists signaling that they have wearied of the campaign trail. The campaign is expected to pick up its pace quickly after the New Year.
Walsh to City Hall
Boston will have its first new mayor in 20 years once Dorchester state Representative Martin J. Walsh takes his oath of office on Jan. 6 at Boston College. In his first year, Walsh will be tested by openings atop the school, police, and fire departments, how well he handles the Boston Redevelopment Authority, public employee unions, and that “vision thing’’ that critics say his predecessor lacked.
Menino steps away, Patrick next
While Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino departs shortly after the first of the year, Governor Deval Patrick has one more year in his second term. Patrick will spend much of his final months in office implementing previously approved legislation and guarding his gas tax and casino laws, which could both be subject to voter referendums in November.
Casinos battle for Mass. jackpot
While Patrick nears the exit, one of his enduring legislative legacies, the law sanctioning casinos in the commonwealth, still faces an uncertain future – beyond even the ballot question. Where the casinos will be built, how many jobs they will provide and how much revenue the state will derive from them all remain open questions, and the subject of much behind-the-scenes lobbying.
Above is a conceptual design of a proposed casino development by Mohegan Sun at Suffolk Downs in Revere.
Lawrence gets new leadership
Boston’s mayoral race drew most of the attention, but a more contentious 2013 election unfolded some 30 miles to the northwest, as Daniel Rivera (above right) bested incumbent Willie Lantigua for the Lawrence mayor’s post. Much of the state’s Democratic establishment rallied to his side, but how Rivera guides one of the state’s most financially strapped cities in his first year could be a sterner test.
Full term for Markey?
The state’s junior senator, Democrat Edward J. Markey, has so far drawn no challenge in his quest for a full term, after winning a special election to succeed Secretary of State John F. Kerry. If Markey goes untested, it will render a tough diagnosis of the depth of the state’s Republican Party.
Warren to the White House?
Markey’s colleague, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, has said repeatedly, emphatically and without much equivocation that she won’t run for president in 2016. But, campaign parlor games being what they are, Warren will continue to face speculation, largely because of her appeal to the party’s populist grassroots. How Warren navigates policy and political ambition in 2014 will set the tone as the 2016 cycle begins in earnest.
Tierney’s newest test
Down the ballot, Democratic US Representative John F. Tierney is facing a primary challenge from former Marine Seth Moulton. Tierney narrowly escaped a 2012 test from former state Senate minority leader Richard Tisei, who is seeking the seat again next year, and Moulton’s intraparty run at the nine-term congressman adds another dynamic to the battle for the north-of-Boston district.
The future of the state GOP
Tisei (above, left) figures to make a strong second run for the Sixth Congressional District seat, and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker (right) has tapped former state representative Karyn Polito as his running mate, though voters still need to ratify that choice. But Republicans are still facing their quadrennial challenge of cobbling together a strong roster of contenders for the state’s remaining constitutional offices – secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, and auditor.
Scott Brown, senator from New Hampshire?
And what of another former officeholder who many Bay State Republicans had longed to get back in the electoral game here? Former US senator Scott Brown is moving from Wrentham to Rye, N.H., and is publicly playing with the prospect of challenging Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen. With the Senate potentially in the balance, Brown’s next move will have national implications.