Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Massachusetts Primary Predictions

It's primary night in Massachusetts! Time for me to lay down my marker and level my predictions.

MA-Sen: Markey over Kennedy (+/- 10 points). It's hard to remember, but at the start of this race Joe Kennedy really tried to sell this as another example of fresh blood displacing an old, out-of-touch member of the establishment who'd been in Congress for decades. Markey did a fabulous job of flipping the narrative on its head, positioning himself as the progressive champion in the race, and Kennedy never really had a good answer to why Markey deserved to be replaced. A Kennedy has never lost a race in Massachusetts, but I think that streak ends tonight.

MA-01: Neal over Morse (high single digits). I don't think this is that gutsy a pick. If Morse loses narrowly, many folks will say that the big story that broke a few weeks ago (he hooked up with college students while a lecturer at U. Mass-Amherst) likely cost him the race. So more ambitious claim (conveniently unfalsifiable) is that this "scandal" actually helped Morse more than it hurt him. Not only did the narrative quickly coalesce that he didn't really do anything wrong, but it brought Morse a ton of attention and progressive support as another insurgent candidate unfairly targeted by the big bad establishment. Indivisible, for example, went all in for Morse immediately after this controversy hit the papers after being relatively quiet in the run up. I think the attention and (more importantly) anti-establishment cred Morse got is what will make this race as close as it is. But it won't be enough, and Neal will survive another term.

MA-04: [No clue]. There are a million candidates in the race to succeed Joe Kennedy, and all the polls agree they're all tightly bunched together. I have no idea who will win, or any idea who I want to win.

MA-08: Lynch over Goldstein (low double digits). In a different world, this would be the marquee progressive House challenge in Massachusetts this cycle. Stephen Lynch has always been well to the right of the district, cutting a Dan Lipinski-like path through a solidly blue constituency. Robbie Goldstein is a solid candidate who's raised respectable sums, but he hasn't gotten the attention that Morse has received out west (the comparison of Morse vs. Goldstein's chances is another reason I think Morse was helped by the "scandal"). I expect Lynch to win, but maybe not by a particularly impressive margin -- and that might set-up a more serious challenge (whether by Goldstein or someone else) in 2022.

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