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Monday, September 13, 2004

Whaddya know? I'm undecided!

Mrs Philocrites and I are voting in the Democratic primary for our local representative tomorrow — and we're still undecided! Do we vote for the unglamorous, conservative incumbent Tim Toomey, whom I've found very responsive to our neighborhood group and who bucked Speaker Tom Finneran's anti-gay marriage amendment plans earlier this year, or 30-year-old progressive up-and-comer Avi Green, who has set lefty hearts a-racing? I'll know tomorrow!

Here's the media coverage that's helping us make up our minds:

  • "While the tectonic shifts of local politics may still be largely under the surface, the rumblings of change are growing louder. It is increasingly obvious that for the first time in living memory, Somerville does indeed have two political parties: old-school Democrats, and Progressives." Somerville News 7.21.04

  • "[Avi] Green said that he became interested in the 26th Middlesex district when he noticed how much he disagreed with State Rep. Timothy J. Toomey Jr., D-Somerville, on moral issues." Somerville News 5.5.04

  • Bonus entertainment! “My life is my hobby,” [poet and Republican candidate David R. Slavitt] says. “I’ve never [run for office] before. I’m 69 years old. The chances of my taking up snowboarding are remote. But this is an interesting new thing I can do.” Harvard Crimson 4.28.04

  • "[T]he largely blue-collar neighborhoods of Cambridge and Somerville that make up the district have drawn a steady stream of newcomers over the past decade. The better-educated professional arrivals are part of Green's natural constituency, not Toomey's. Green is a Robert Reich liberal — the former US labor secretary and gubernatorial candidate has endorsed him — and he has derided Toomey as a 'pick-and-choose' progressive who is not sufficiently dedicated to the liberal cause." Boston Globe 9.12.04

  • "The Democratic primary contest between Tim Toomey and Avi Green has an abundance of compelling story lines. The Toomey-Green race is, at least in part, about the Old Cambridge and Somerville squaring off against the New: Toomey, the incumbent state representative for the 26th Middlesex District, has spent his entire life there, while Green is a Philadelphia native who moved to Massachusetts seven years ago. It’s also about what it means to be a Democrat in Massachusetts, and the implications of House Speaker Tom Finneran’s continued reign for the future of the state Democratic Party. Finally — and perhaps most important — Toomey versus Green is a case study in how gay-marriage advocates will reward conservative politicians like Toomey who back their cause on Beacon Hill. The first two subplots make this race interesting. But the last one could make it momentous." Boston Phoenix 9.16.04

    Update 9.14.04: I decided that Toomey would still be an effective advocate for my Inman Square neighborhood in his other job on the Cambridge City Council, that his votes on the gay marriage amendment seemed a bit anomalous given his Catholic defense of his anti-abortion votes, and that electing Avi Green — who ran Jarrett Barrios's 1998 campaign — could hardly be construed as voter rebellion against Toomey's amendment votes. So I voted for change.

    Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 13 September 2004 at 11:05 PM

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    September 14, 2004 11:56 PM | Permalink for this comment

    Looks like you didn't get the change you decided to vote for, though; unofficial results show Toomey winning 3161 to 2666.

    Unsurprisingly, he led the Cambridge portion of the district 2144-1408, but Green made up some ground on the Somerville side of the line (Green 1258, Toomey 1017).

    That's not a bad margin for a challenger, though; perhaps this will pull Toomey a bit more progressive. (I don't think Slavitt is a real threat, obviously.)

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