John Kerry’s electoral history

With John Kerry being nominated today to serve as America’s next Secretary of State, his career in elective office is almost certainly at an end. Here is a Lowell-centric record of the eight general elections (and corresponding primaries) in which he appeared on the ballot:

1972 – Congress – 5th District

Republican Primary (showing Lowell vote followed by District vote)

Paul Cronin of Andover – 803 – 10,812
George Macheras of Lowell – 218 – 790
Armand Morissette of Lowell – 1,324 – 2,486
Ellen Sampson of Lowell – 1,455 – 4,330

Democratic Primary (showing Lowell vote followed by District vote)

Glenn Cooper of Lowell – 483 – 2,282
John Desmond of Lowell – 4,787 – 10,213
Anthony DiFruscia of Lawrence – 704 – 12,222
Helen Droney of Lowell – 774 – 2,124
Frederick Finnegan of Chelmsford – 1,395 – 2,558
Robert Kennedy of Lowell – 2,476 – 5,632
John Kerry of Lowell – 2,298 – 20,771
Daniel Kiley of Lawrence – 139 – 2,221
Paul Sheehy of Lowell – 7,429 – 15,641
Richard Williams of Lowell – 311 – 1,706

General Election

Paul Cronin (Republican) – 20,747 – 110,970
John Kerry (Democrat) – 17,227 – 92,847
Roger Durkin (Independent) – 666 – 3,803

1982 – Lieutenant Governor

Democratic Primary (showing Lowell vote followed by Statewide vote)

John Kerry of Newton – 9,483 – 325,890
Evelyn Murphy of Brookline – 2,684 – 286,378
Lou Nickinello of Natick – 1,571 – 150,829
Lois Pines of Newton – 1,377 – 132,734
Samuel Rotondi of Winchester – 3,282 – 228,086

Republican Primary

Leon Lombardi of Easton – unopposed

Gubernatorial Election

Michael Dukakis and John Kerry (Democrat) – 13,810 – 1,219,109
John Sears and Leon Lombardi (Republican) – 5,483 – 749,679

1984 U.S. Senate

Republican Primary (showing Lowell then Statewide vote)

Elliot Richardson of Brookline – 742 – 104,761
Raymond Shamie of Walpole – 1,718 – 173,851

Democratic Primary

David Bartley of Holyoke – 513 – 85,910
Michael Connolly of Boston – 660 – 82,999
John Kerry of Boston – 3,164 – 322,470
James Shannon of Lawrence – 12,179 – 297,941

General Election

John Kerry (Democrat) – 16,563 – 1,392,981
Ray Shamie (Republican) – 15,223 – 1,136,806

1990 US Senate

In 1990, John Kerry was elected to his second term in the US Senate, receiving 1,3321,712 votes to 992,917 of Republican Jim Rappaport (who had defeated Daniel Daly in the Republican primary).

1996 US Senate

The big statewide race in 1996 was for the US Senate seat. Republican governor Bill Weld challenged two-term Democratic incumbent John Kerry in that race. Statewide, Kerry received 1,334,345 votes to Weld’s 1,142,837. In Lowell, the percentages were about the same with Kerry receiving 13,781 votes to Weld’s 11,267.

2002 US Senate

John Kerry was re-elected US Senator with nominal opposition from Libertarian Michael Cloud

2004 – President

The big political news in 2004 was John Kerry’s run for president. In the Massachusetts presidential primary on March 2, Kerry received 440,964 votes to John Edwards’ 108,051, Dennis Kucinich’s 25,198, Howard Dean’s 17,076, Al Sharpton’s 6123, Joe Lieberman’s 5432, Wesley Clark’s 3109 and Carol Mosley Braun’s 1019. On the Republican side, George W Bush was unchallenged.

In the November 2 state election, the Kerry-John Edwards ticket beat Bush-Dick Cheney, 1,803,800 to 1,071,109 (Kerry won Lowell, 18,195 to 10,554). Bush, of course, won the election nation-wide.

2008 – US Senate

For the US Senate, John Kerry was challenged in the Democratic primary by Edward O’Reilly. Kerry received 342,446 votes statewide and 3135 in Lowell; O’Reilly received 154,395 votes statewide and 1614 in Lowell. In the general election, Kerry defeated Republican Jeffrey Beatty. Kerry got 21,038 votes in Lowell to Beatty’s 8332.

This Winter Solstice of 2012

Today December 21, 2012 is the Winter Solstice.  The solstice  marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The winter solstice also marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year.  Have you noticed that the place and angle of the sun is different throughout the year? With the coming of the winter solstice the sun appears at its lowest point in the sky.  The fact that the sun’s noontime elevation  appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice accounts for the origin of the word “solstice” coming from Latin solstitium –  ”a stoppage.” Following the  winter solstice – the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter. This change in the span of daylight even though only a minutes or two at first is good news! Everyone seems to notice the changes. For the ancients the solstice was a time of celebration.

The celebrations of Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa at this time of the year have roots in ancient times. Throughout history, humans have observed this seasonal milestone and created spiritual and cultural traditions to celebrate the rebirth of sunlight after the darkest period of the year.  The rituals involve personal renewal, sharing, remembering and honoring the past, honoring family and friends – the customs involve wreaths, lights, gift-giving, singing, feasting, resolutions, mistletoe, evergreen wreaths,  holly, Yule log, and the Yule tree.

Today might be an especially good day to start a new personal tradition for this time of ritual, reflection, and renewal. Make a promise to yourself… write a short poem or reflection… hug a child and think of those lost and those to be saved. Indulge in a moment of silence. Light a candle.

Scott Brown v. Bill Weld not even close by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross-posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.

A WBUR poll this morning about who might run to fill John Kerry’s Senate seat if/when Kerry becomes Secretary of State showed an overwhelming preference for Scott Brown over former Governor Bill Weld for the GOP nomination.  A valedictory op ed by Senator Scott Brown in a recent Boston Globe shows why the decision shouldn’t even be a close one. For all the differences I’ve had with Brown on issues, he really does seem to take the office seriously and is willing to work hard.  That is definitely not Bill Weld. In his valedictory speech in the Senate, Brown hinted strongly he could be back. But, even if he passed on a Senate race to run for governor, there are better choices for the GOP than Bill Weld.

Some in the media, including – or, should I say, especially – Globe columnist Scot Lehigh (with whom I often agree) have drunk the Weld koolaid.  It’s true, as Lehigh posited, that Weld is a “bigger, better thinker” than Brown and may even have a more engaging personality.  But that’s personality in the abstract.  Weld is indeed the kind of guy you might want to sit down and have a drink with. But, as governor, after he took care of the fiscal deficit at the beginning of 1991, he was more often found on the squash court than the corner office.  His inclination toward all-day partaking of the “amber liquid” made him a joke among visitors and press alike. (Lehigh reports in all seriousness that Weld “has given up spirits in favor of wine.” )

Weld ran against the “walruses” in state government and disdained those who chose public service as a career.  He even seemed to take his own role as a joke.  Can anyone forget the year that, as the state’s top official, he stood next to Senate President William Bulger at the microphone at the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in Southie, and made jokes about notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger, now facing charges of 19 counts of murder? Joan Vennochi has written of        Weld’s “state of perpetual bemusement.”

Yes, he can take credit for cutting taxes, but, as did Governor Mitt Romney, Weld raised plenty of fees.  There is, after all, a Constitutional mandate to balance the state budget.  And he certainly can take credit for bringing top-notch people into his administration (Peter Nessen, Charlie Baker, Gloria Larson, Mark Robinson, Kathleen O’Toole come to mind as does his Supreme Court nomination of Margaret Marshall).  But, with the exception of legendary Ted Kennedy staffers, it’s not the staffers whom we remember as key to the senatorial process.  And Kennedy himself grew to be an epic work horse.

Bill Weld had such an aversion to hard work that, when North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms deep-sixed Bill Clinton’s nomination of Weld to be ambassador to Mexico (both because his pal Attorney General Ed Meese disliked Weld and  because he didn’t think Weld would take seriously enough the US-Mexican drug trade), Weld refused a fall-back offer of an ambassadorship to India.  That would have been a more challenging and more important position but clearly more work.

So the dabbler-in-chief took off for New York,  ran a pathetic campaign for governor there, and now has parachuted back into Massachusetts, working at Mintz Levin and ML Strategies with his old bud Steve Tocco. his former economic affairs director.

There’s a lot I don’t like about Scott Brown: his stands on many issues, his quickness to dodge the media, his intermittent self-aggrandizement (“Every day I’ve met with kings and queens”), his anti-intellectual patronizing of “Professor Warren,” his centerfold celebrity tastes and probably more. But what came through in his valedictory message in the Globe was a genuine appreciation of what an “honor and privilege” it is to serve the people of Massachusetts. That concept seems alien to Bill Weld, who has an air of entitlement and who really couldn’t care less for the working stiffs of Massachusetts, who show up every day, put in their time, and don’t have trust funds to fall back on.

I welcome your comments in the section below.

Fiscal cliff or fiscal scam?

Listening to some national commentators this morning, at first I thought they were discussing the Mayan prediction that the world would end today but it soon became clear they were discussing the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” that will be dominating political news over the next two weeks. Back in 2011 when the nation’s debt ceiling needed to be raised so that we could pay the bills for expenditures Congress had already made, some in Congress balked at raising the ceiling (i.e., the amount of money the government was authorized to borrow), an action that had previously been completely routine. With the economy held hostage, the President and House Speaker Boehner attempted to negotiate a “grand bargain” that would have cut massive amounts of spending in return for the debt limit increase. They failed to reach agreement so instead Congress set a deadline for itself to resolve these huge issues. The deadline was January 2, 2013. On that date, income tax cuts made during the Bush Administration will expire automatically which, if allowed to happen, will mean an immediate tax increase for everyone. That will show up in paychecks through increased withholding meaning that take home pay will be reduced. In addition to this change in the tax rates, massive automatic spending cuts, half to defense and half to the rest to non-defense items, will take place. Few people will be directly effected by these cuts in the immediate short-term, although it’s not completely clear of their direct consequences. Will existing defense contracts be cancelled causing the companies involved to layoff employees? Will the Lowell National Historic Park have to curtail its hours or close its doors entirely? Will federal grants to the police, public schools and other agencies be cut or cancelled causing layoffs or cutbacks in those agencies? I certainly don’t know and there has been a distinct absence of stories predicting those types of consequences. Contrast this information void with a typical Proposition 2 1/2 override campaign that broadcasts in precise terms the negative consequences of a “no” vote; there’s nothing equivalent for the Fiscal Cliff.

While the immediate direct consequences of the Fiscal Cliff don’t seem particularly catastrophic in the short term – Congress can cut taxes or modify these cuts anytime it collectively chooses – there’s a risk that the indirect consequences of reaching the Fiscal Cliff may be especially damaging. What will the stock market do on January 2 if no deal has been reached? Will lenders stop lending? Will businesses stop spending? No one really knows. But listening to the commentators earlier this morning I soon thought of a mutual fund I’ve had for years and years. It’s not a lot of money in the scheme of things, but it’s significant to me. It’s all invested in stocks – an Index 500 fund. Through modest contributions and appreciation it had grown nicely through the years and then in September 2008 it suddenly lost half of its value. (The “measly” 1% of a bank CD didn’t look so measly after losing half the principal of an investment in stocks). Today, that fund has pretty much clawed its way back to where it was in the summer of 2008. Thinking of the possibility of another collapse of the stock market in a week and a half, I suddenly wondered if I should liquidate that mutual fund to safeguard its current value. And that’s when it hit me that much of the talk of the Fiscal Cliff is a scam. It is a big problem, both economically and governmentally, but I also believe that there are plenty of speculators out there positioning themselves to take advantage of irrational reactions. And the mainstream media seems determined to evoke irrational reactions from viewers and readers. I won’t say that the Fiscal Cliff is a manufactured crisis – there are serious problems we face that need solving – but don’t start believing that civilization as we know it will end on January 2 short of some miraculous “deal” from Washington. It won’t.

‘Patterns of a Prayer Town’

I wrote the first draft of this poem in 1976, and worked on it on and off for a long time. I had in mind the extensive outdoor lighting displays in Dracut (the town) and Lowell, but, especially as it evolved, the dense array of Christmas decorations in Lowell’s Pawtucketville neighborhood, between Mammoth Road and University Avenue (Textile Ave/Moody St). The image of the Martians came in a late revision and seemed to be just what the poem needed to knock it a little off kilter.—PM


Patterns of a Prayer Town


Our Lady of the Bathtub shines white.

A flagpole becomes a stack of gold eggs.

The small dogwood vanishes—in its place a floating rosary.

There’s a chain-link gate festooned with gaudy bulbs,

shrubs lassoed blue, dormers outlined in radiant jelly beans—

every other house turns into a birthday cake.

City folk do it for you and me, for their kids and kids of passing strangers.

But what do the Martians think,

gazing at us through super-powered telescopes?

What do they make of this season

when it looks like a carnival has spread like flu through the neighborhoods?


—Paul Marion (c) 2006, from “What Is the City?”