The urgency of national news sometimes casts local politics into the shade. Watch out for that. I spent the last election season preaching “downballot” to anyone who would listen. I have no regrets, in view of some of the issues coming up in my area at the state and local levels that are sure to be reflected in federal policy a few years down the road. Furthermore, the candidates succeeding locally are apt to look to higher office sooner or later.

This came to mind as my Facebook feed kicked up a new ad, inviting me to “like” a Model Citizen’s new page. My internal alarms went off. This MC ran last cycle for mayor of the largest city in the state, and lost by a whisker. She’s back for another crack at it.

Ms. Model Citizen was endorsed last time around by EMILY’s List, which was established for exactly one reason: to elect pro-abortion women. Ms. MC downplayed that in her last campaign. The EMILY’s List material promoting her, knowing that the unrestricted-abortion line wouldn’t play well in the city, emphasized her aldermanic experience. I’m betting on the same game plan this time.

And when that happens, it’ll be last time all over again: ask any ten likely voters in that city if they’d support a pro-abortion candidate for mayor, and most would say no. Ask them if they’ve ever heard of EMILY’s List, and nine of them would go “huh?” But ask them if they’d support the alderman from ward X, and it’s a different story.

The last time the mayor of the largest city in the state ran for higher office, he wound up in Congress. Local experience and name recognition counted heavily.

It’s not just the prospect of upward mobility that gives me pause; it’s the more immediate effect on local policy. Who determines local school policies, as least as far the feds allow? Who lends credibility to certain groups by marching or volunteering with them? Who names volunteers to local committees? Who determines the priorities in municipal budgets?

Yup: the locals. While Sean Spicer is briefing reporters about developments in Washington, there’s plenty going on in your own town, without much publicity.

Watch those candidates, whenever your local elections may be. Watch those campaign finance reports. Shine a light on stealth efforts, like EMILY’s List mailings that fail to mention abortion advocacy. Care now, because you can be sure there are interest groups who would be happy for you to leave the caring to them.

Ellen Kolb blogs about New Hampshire life-issue policy at Leaven for the Loaf and looks farther afield in ellenkolb.com

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Olimometer 2.52

And if you aren’t inclined or in a position to kick in financial

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — Bad news on today on the Dead Pelican – that’s the Louisiana version of The Drudge Report.    The headline there links to a Washington Times story predicting yet another month of negative campaigning here in Louisiana:

While voters around the country eagerly await Tuesday as the end of the campaign ad season, Louisiana’s residents need to brace for another month of the onslaught of negative TV ads and mailboxes spilling over with attack flyers.

The quirk of the state’s election calendar for congressional races means the barrage of ill will from campaigns and outside groups is expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holidays and most of the college football regular season.

The national focus is on our Senate race with Mary Landrieu trying to keep her career position in the Senate; opposing her is Rep. Bill Cassidy, a RINO but giving Mary a run for her money, and the more conservative (and Palin-endorsed) candidate Rob Maness who is polling a distant third place and just barely out of single digits.

Much has been made of Landrieu’s statement last week in which she criticized her constituency, calling the Louisiana voters who elected her three times racist and sexist.  She’s getting desperate.

Locally, in Shreveport, we have as big a mess of a mayor’s race as anything I’ve ever seen, and the smear attacks are just embarrassing.  One candidate is accused of double-dipping reimbursement expenses, one candidate’s mental competency has been challenged, and yet another has admitted to shooting her husband in a domestic abuse situation.  If there was ever an election where you just didn’t want to vote, our mayoral race would be it.

The flyers and cards I’m getting through my mail slot are enough to make me want to tape the thing shut; I need to wash my hands after picking them up.  It’s downright nasty.

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in addition to sorting through all that mudslinging, we also have fourteen constitutional amendments on the ballot, as well as a plethora of other local races from school board to City Marshall.  I printed my sample ballot and it is three pages long.

I’m not complaining, though – I’m proud to be able to vote and will certainly exercise my right to vote on Tuesday.  It might take twenty minutes in the voting booth, but it will be worth it all just to vote against Mary Landrieu.

I guess on the bright side, it will be interesting to see what kind of smears she will come up with to insult her constituents as we wait for the run off.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

I’ve been to every precinct in the city so far and this is what I saw.

In ward 6 where two years ago I stood alone a group held signs for republican candidates

Republicans in 2010 Ward 6

The only candidate on the democratic side promoted was Tom Foley for Sheriff

The only democrat signs in 6

I have never in my life seen more people holding signs for a question than for a candidate

Anti Question 1-3 electioneering

I was so struck by that I interviewed a gentleman there

Foley has drawn a fair amount of support. I’ve met him personally and I’m not surprised by that.

The man on the right is a republican but he is for Foley

There was a group of FSU students interviewing people for a government project, I asked them why they didn’t cover the Gunn event at the college, none of them had been told even though every teacher got an e-mail about it.

Where were these college folks when Gunn was on Campus?

In Ward five the turnout was VERY high, particularly in 5a

Ward 5 very busy

I talked to David Roth who I knew from high school, he was a year ahead of me.

In Ward 4 it was the same story

Two Poll workers in Ward 4

Ward 2 also had a very steady stream, their totals were already over the primaries before noon

Posing at the machine in Ward 2a

In ward three there were two big surprises. My mother who works the polls told me it was very steady, in the second ward the numbers were already over 800 by 12:30 p.m.

Ward 3 the busiest ward in town

In both wards 6 and 3 there were Democratic poll watchers checking to see if they needed to get their people out if they hadn’t voted. Two people I met at the Mayday march were also in 6 and 3. We disagree but they are very nice and I’m always pleased to see them.

I ran into John Olver in Ward 3. I still think he is dead wrong but I’ve learned to respect him as a gentleman who has never treated me with anything but respect. He has run a clean and honorable campaign.

John Olver and supporters in Fitchburg on election day

Ex Mayor Mylot was there as well, he was supporting the republican ticket. The men on the left holding signs for Lew held them for Bove in the primary at the same spot.

Ex Mayor Mylot in ward 3

The Shock of the day came as Bill Gunn showed up at the same time and he and Congressman Olver posed for a picture together.

Bill Gunn (r) and congressman John Olver (D) civil and honorable opponents

This was the picture of the day, although I think it will be a close race both have run positive, clean and issue oriented campaigns, it’s been an example to the entire nation.

In ward one the trend of incredible numbers continued:

Ward one with a full house

And the electioneering continued, the most popular democrat in the area is clearly Foley

Signs for foley in ward 1

Republicans signs were in every place except for ward 4 downtown.

Republicans holding signs in ward 1

Bottom line all signs point toward huge turnout and if the Scott Brown trend of January is a barometer, then I’d be worried if I was the left

Rich Bastien is running in the 2nd Worcester district in the statehouse, I talked to him at the Bill Gunn Town Hall in Leominster Last week.

If his story is being repeated statewide the times they will be a changin’!

Here is the video of Jen Flanagan and her opponent Neal Heeren at the Twin city Tea party on the 28th

I recorded these in about 10 minutes swatches based on my camera and the space on my two cards:

I actually think she made a good presentation. I thought her answer on “Tea Party Extremism” was a safe answer, but I think her answer on NH was week.

She did meet with people privately and talked for a while, as I said before she deserves a lot of credit for showing up.

Here is her opponent Neal Heeren


I missed the start of his speech as my batteries needed switching.

Without a question Heeren was a weaker speaker, he had to refer to his notes quite a bit on opening and seemed very uncomfortable on stage, rather odd for a lawyer. On the issues he was more correct but you have to be able to make the case to people. That’s a skill he can develop but if Flanagan keeps showing up and manages to make credible explanation and presentations it will be harder for him.

This more than anything illustrates why Flanagan’s presence was smart! Rather than avoiding the Tea Party in fear she confronts it directly. Were all her answers good enough? Likely not but you can’t beat something with nothing. She is an experienced pol and a personable lady. There is no reason why she shouldn’t make a good impression on the people she represents.

If what you believe is right it can stand up to argument. Liberals in fear of the tea party have conceded that argument. If they follow the example of Flanagan for good or ill that might change.

I’ll have Jen Benson and Kurt Hayes up later tonight

The Twin city tea party had its monthly meeting at the Border Grille and Bar yesterday. That in itself isn’t big news.

What WAS big news is that it included a candidates forum and two sitting DEMOCRATIC members of the General Court attended.

Jennifer Flanagan
(Sen 4th Worcester district) and Jen Benson (Rep 37th Middlesex District) along with their opponents Neal Heeren (4th Worcester Senate) and Kurt Hayes (37th Middlesex) showed up and took audience questions and stayed to talk to the people at intermission!

The significance of this can’t be overestimated. For over a year the media has been painting tea party members as wild eyed extremists. Congressmen and women have avoided town hall meetings in fear of encountering them and now sitting democratic members of the General Court attend events.

Both Jens deserve a lot of credit for doing so, it shows a respect for the people who will be voting in this election, but more importantly it shows that they are smart enough to realize that pretending a portion of the electorate must be ignored is a losing policy. Rather than giving the floor to their opponents they engaged the tea party members as voters to be persuaded.

Did they win any votes? I don’t know but I think both were impressive and helped themselves. Just as it is hard to stereotype the tea party when you actually interact with them it is hard to do the same with candidates who take the time to talk to you.

Incidentally I’ll have video uploaded and posted later in the day.

Is this an anomaly or is this the shape of things to come? Well as goes Massachusetts…

Update: Instalanche! Thanks Glenn, welcome all take a peek around. Find out why Foster Kamer is Vizzini, why the Iranians are just cowardly bullies, check out my cynical look at Church Closings and Dave Weigel and of course my Amazon reviews.

Update 2: This is actually the Second bi-partisian event held by the Twin City Tea Party. The First was on Flag Day and included the mayor of Leominster. The evidence of change in drawing local pols is evidenced by this video:

When local pols in the most liberal state in the nation feel comfortable being seen at tea party events the worm has turned. I think tea parties nationwide should take a good hard look at what the Twin City Tea Party group is doing and copy it.

Update 3: Here is the video of Flanagan and Heeren

Update 4: And here is the video of Benson and Hayes.

My latest column for the examiner is up an excerpt:

…with the April meeting pending; organizer Justin Brooks started contacting democrats either in office or running for office. He left messages or talked to a half dozen different candidates eager to get another perspective, without success. Most office holders and candidates never got back to him, others had conflicts but when the April 26th meeting came around only a single candidate republican Mary Connaughton spoke to the 46 people assembled at the Border Grille & Bar in Leominster.

More details on the meeting are available here.

Remember hits on my examiner articles are the next best thing to hits on the DaTipJar.

Update: Instalanche on the Examiner article. Thanks muchly Glenn! Hits there are a lot more valuable to me than hits here.

Our Mayor Lisa Wong is a very bright young woman, if you meet her you can’t help but like her.

Her visit to our house when she was going door to door was memorable because of something funny. As we were talking to candidate Wong at the front door, my youngest kept trying to pull me away , Dad, Dad come here, I kept telling him it could wait. When she finally left I said what was so important? He led me to the back porch where all over the carpet lay the shattered glass of the pinball machine that broke as he was preparing to put it back on. (Good think it was tempered glass).

Wong came into a mess as as her first term ends it’s still a mess but I so far i like what she is trying to do and truly believe she is doing her best for us.

I also believe she has been marked by the democratic party for higher things, I’m torn by this since on the local level democrats then to remain, well normal but as they get higher up the political ladder the crazyness index goes up Real fast, but if you are going to have people on the other side they should be good people and that is Mayor Wong.

Running against her is. Fuzzy.

That is Michael “Fuzzy” Voisine. Everybody knows him as Fuzzy. Everybody knows Fuzzy. He worked at Espresso Pizza practically forever, before opening Premier Subs down the street. Don’t laugh Espresso has been a Fitchburg Fixture for 45 years, when everything else on main street ran away they stayed even after a devastating fire. There is nobody in the town that hasn’t tried it and it is the single best Italian sauce and pizza in town.

He is an average man who has worked hard all his life, he has both managed and owned a small business in town and done all the things necessary to make things work.

Right now I’m leaning toward the incumbent but it isn’t a clear cut choice for me. The Mayor is a highly educated person who has a lot of theory behind her and is a very hard worker, but Fuzzy has the actual practical experience in real life that is vital on the local level.

Or to put it another way. The education the mayor has Fuzzy (or anyone) can get with hard work. The practical knowledge and decades of real world Experience that Fuzzy has is a lot harder to come by.

It will be interesting around here.