District Goes Republican
Among the more interesting statistics to emerge from the January 19th special election in Massachusetts is that the cities and towns making up the congressional district of Congressman Richard Neal went for Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley by a eye-popping margin of 57 versus 42 percent. In fact every single community in Neal's district went for Brown except Northampton, Springfield and the town of Hadley. This map shows the general shape of Neal's district and the election results, revealing the three lonely Democrat wins (in blue) amidst a sea of Republican red:
The Democrats have held the seat since 1949, and Neal himself has held it since 1989, repeatedly re-elected with no opposition from the Republican Party since 1996. However, this year the winds of change are blowing in the 2nd District, just as they are in the state and the nation. The surprise Republican triumph last week in Neal's district has got to be encouraging news to Neal's two GOP challengers, Northampton's Dr. Jay Fleitman and Tom Wesley of Hopedale. Just a few weeks ago, Neal's challengers looked like a couple of likely losers fighting over a booby prize. But now with Scott Brown's demonstrated ability to inspire the district to vote Republican, the GOP nomination looks increasingly like a stepping stone to Congress for someone who runs a Brown-style campaign. Indeed, Neal's long and unchallenged incumbency, usually an asset, now looks like it may make him a rich target in this revolutionary political climate where dumping the establishment status-quo appears to be a top priority of the electorate.
Indeed, the sudden increase in the value of the Republican nomination in the 2nd District has increased speculation that a Republican heavyweight may be tempted to join the fray, such as former GOP State Senator Brian Lees (above). In 1986 Lees ran for the 2nd District congressional seat and lost, but if he still harbors any ambitions for congress, what better time to run than now? There is even some speculation that Neal may ultimately be challenged by someone from within his own party, a fresh face that could help protect the seat from an anti-establishment campaign and thereby hold the seat for the Democrats. Stay tuned, this race is getting interesting.
Nazis for Martha
I don't know of any liberal Democrats who were quite as upset about Scott Brown's victory as Adolph Hitler:
Cool grill in a Northampton parking lot.
I have no idea what this Hamp protester is protesting, and he seemed unable to explain it to me.
A snowman melting to death on a Northampton bench.
Today's Music Video
Who's that casting devious stares in my direction?