Niki Tsongas UNstoppable
Tony Accardi/ RichardHowe.com
admit it from the beginning
I hang around with
political junkies. People who love to talk about
politics. And when youre in Lowell, the
conversation inevitably turns to the special election to
fill the Fifth Congressional District seat, especially
the Democratic primary.
I know Donoghue supporters, Finegold believers, Eldridge
devotees and Miceli converts
but I dont
think Ive talked to anyone who denies that Niki
Tsongas has led the Democratic field in all aspects from
the start (sorry Eileen, Barry, Jamie and Jim).
Lets take a look back
it started with her
website. Self-anointed political experts (like me) were
smugly ruminating, does the wife of a former U.S.
senator who never held elected office have a chance
against five seasoned politicians?
Then bam! Tsongas kicks it up a notch
barely finished his resignation speech and www.NikiTsongas.com
was launched. She has raised more money and captured star
power endorsements like Congressman Barney Frank, former
Congressman Jim Shannon, EMILYs List, and now the
Tsongas is the first to advertise on TV.
Please dont misunderstand me
I do not
believe Tsongas has the 5th wrapped up (sorry Niki). It
is way too early for anyone to believe that, but she is
unquestionably the frontrunner.
Many political observers believe a significant percentage
of Tsongas support is soft (me being one), and this
race is not going to be won by a large margin. Still, the
question remains, can any of the other candidates take
away some of her support?
Obviously, Tsongas high profile name gave her an
instant advantage, but there is more to her early
success. Her staffers have put together a campaign that
has given her the momentum in the race.
The usual campaign strategy is to end load
the spending. In other words, fire everything youve
got in the final few weeks of the campaign.
It is becoming obvious the usual strategy is
not going to work in this special election. Finegold,
Donoghue, Miceli and Eldridge need to slow the Tsongas
train down and soon.
Anyone who knows anything about politics knows if the
public believes a candidate is going to win, then he/she
But Tsongas faces a strong group of politically savvy
challengers. Barry Finegold, Eileen Donoghue, Jamie
Eldridge and Jim Miceli are all experienced, competent
elected officials, and all have the ability to derail
Here are a few of my impressions of each:I love Barry
Finegolds emphasis on lunch pail
issues. Recently, WCVB Channel 5 featured Finegold on
their nightly newscast. During the piece, the candidate
talked about the need to reduce the high cost of
gasoline, college tuition and housing. Everyone relates
to these issues. It is old-fashioned bread and
butter politics and it resonates.
Many experts see Eileen Donoghue as Tsongas primary
threat. Yet up to this point, a clear distinction between
Donoghue and Tsongas has not emerged. Donoghue must avoid
becoming the other woman from Lowell in the
race. I have followed Donoghue on the Lowell City
Coun-cil for many years and can unequivocally say she is
a first class candidate. During her two terms as mayor of
Lowell, she earned praise as being articulate, smart and
Jamie Eldridge is the most liberal of the Democrats in
the race. He has attracted a group of hard-working
liberal supporters, especially from the blogosphere. He
states his positions without ambiguity
no doubt where he stands on an issue. He works hard and
has tapped into an energetic grassroots network, similar
to Deval Patrick.
State Representative Jim Miceli has covered Wilmington
and Tewksbury for the past 30 years. His name is
synonymous with constituent service. Miceli offers
5th District voters a conservative alternative. He
opposes gay marriage and a deadline for troop withdrawal
from Iraq. But he has a big problem, money,
or should I say lack of it. In his first quarter campaign
financial report, the veteran representative raised only
a fraction of what his opponents raised. Miceli knows
being the conservative is useless if he cant get
his message out
and you dont get the message
out without the money.
In the next few weeks I believe we will see an attempt by
one or all of these candidates to stop Niki Tsongas
if not, she may become unstoppable.
Tony Accardi is co-author of the political blog
He is also the First Assistant Register of Deeds of the
Northern District of Middlesex County. You can email him
at : firstname.lastname@example.org
*Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The July 2007 Edition of
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