GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Happy Monday!
THE ELECTION IS OVER. WHAT’S NEXT? — Supporters flooded the streets in Boston after President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential race late Saturday morning. The expected — yet still excruciating — delay in ballot counting kept Americans glued to their televisions for the better half of a week. Now that the election is over, the next political fights are already beginning.
Biden’s victory means there will be a new administration to staff, and another round of cabinet-level speculation in Massachusetts. Here’s a link to the (pretty long) shortlist of potential Bay State picks, from a few weeks ago.
“He can’t take everyone from Massachusetts to Washington with him,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh quipped during a press conference on Sunday, asked about the speculation over whether he could fill a cabinet post.
On Beacon Hill, House lawmakers will hash out a $46 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2021 this week. The budget was originally due over the summer, but was delayed due to the pandemic. Questions about who the president would be in January, and the likelihood of another coronavirus stimulus package have added to the uncertainty. Representatives have introduced 777 amendments, CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg noted on Twitter.
Another thing to watch is the direction of both state parties. Will the Massachusetts Republican Party continue to embrace President Donald Trump‘s style of politics in the years ahead? The answer right now seems to be yes. MassGOP vice chair Tom Mountain told NBC10 over the weekend that he does not recognize Biden as president-elect, pointing to the president’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.
And members of the Massachusetts Democratic Party will decide whether to reelect chairman Gus Bickford this week, or opt for one of his two challengers. The vote will come just after an independent investigation detailing the party’s involvement in a congressional campaign scandal was released late Thursday night, which ended up under the radar for many since it unfolded amid the presidential election chaos.
The next big electoral fight — Boston’s 2021 mayoral race — is already developing. Mayoral candidates and Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell both packed more than $90,000 into their campaign accounts in October, and Wu is rolling out a new endorsement today. Many expect Walsh to run for reelection, though he hasn’t made anything official. In the past, Walsh said he was focused on helping Biden win the presidency when asked about his future plans. Now that’s out of the way.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: GONZALEZ BACKS WU — Jay Gonzalez, who ran for governor in 2018, is endorsing Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu for mayor of Boston this morning.
“We need leaders here in Massachusetts who will aim high,” Gonzalez said in a statement to POLITICO. “Michelle doesn’t need to be pushed forward; she leans forward.” Gonzalez will speak at a virtual Wu campaign fundraiser titled “Building the Movement” on Thursday. Gonzalez, a Democrat, was a member of former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration.
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– “Massachusetts reports 1,809 new COVID cases, 20 more deaths on Sunday,” by Benjamin Kail, MassLive.com: “Massachusetts public health officials on Sunday announced another 1,809 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide number of active cases to 22,023. The state Department of Public Health also reported another 20 deaths linked to the virus on Sunday. Since the pandemic began, 166,745 residents have been infected and 9,923 have died. When including probable cases, the death toll jumps to 10,149.”
– “These 16 communities are at high risk for COVID-19,” by Shannon Larson, Boston Globe. Link.
– “Travel advisories cause friction between states,” by Christian M. Wade, The Salem News: “With coronavirus cases rising, states are seeking to limit cross-border travel, and it’s leading to bad feelings between neighbors. Last week, Connecticut added Massachusetts to its advisory list. That means visitors from the Bay State must fill out a travel form when they arrive and present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for 14 days.”
– “State Education Leaders Increase Pressure To Resume In-Person Learning,” by Carrie Jung, WBUR: “The Baker administration is increasing pressure on public schools to resume in-person learning. In a Friday event to announce a new formula for calculating local COVID-19 risk, Massachusetts education leaders doubled down on their messages urging school districts to open their doors to as many students as possible.”
– “Baker says Trump’s conspiracy claims not supported by facts,” by Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine: “Gov. Charlie Baker criticized President Trump on Friday for suggesting there is some kind of national conspiracy going on related to the counting of votes across the country. Trump has said he is being cheated out of a second term by ‘the corrupt voting apparatus of the states,’ which is counting ‘illegal votes’ that have reduced the size of his lead in a number of states.”
– “Worcester’s becoming ‘a hotbed’ for movies, data shows state tax credits provide big reward for city as well as Hollywood,” by Michael Bonner, MassLive.com: “At the end of October, Mayor Joseph Petty visited Polar Park to witness crews lay the first pieces of sod at the new ballpark. As he moved toward a microphone to address the media gathered at the stadium, other city officials, including City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. joked with the mayor if he had his Screen Actor’s Guild union card with him before he appeared on camera.”
– “Rick Bright, Atul Gawande on Biden’s covid task force,” by Dan Diamond, POLITICO: “The Biden-Harris transition team will announce a Covid-19 ‘transition advisory board’ on Monday that includes a dozen high-profile doctors, two people with knowledge of the announcement told POLITICO. POLITICO last week first reported that President-elect Joe Biden planned to announce a Covid-19 task force after the election, in line with his vow to begin preparing to tackle the surging pandemic before Inauguration Day.”
– “Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is strongly effective, early data from large trial indicate,” by Matthew Herper, STAT News: “Pfizer and partner BioNTech said Monday that their vaccine against Covid-19 was strongly effective, exceeding expectations with results that are likely to be met with cautious excitement — and relief — in the face of the global pandemic. The vaccine is the first to be tested in the United States to generate late-stage data.”
– “Boston Takes To The Streets As Biden Is Declared Winner Of The Presidential Election,” by Esteban Bustillos, GBH News: “The streets of Boston erupted in demonstrations Saturday after former Vice President Joe Biden was declared winner of the 2020 presidential election after days of counting mail-in ballots in states around the country. President Donald Trump said Saturday he would not concede and would fight in court to overturn the results.”
– “Walsh congratulates Biden and Harris, says it’s time to get to work,” by Gal Tziperman Lotan, Boston Globe: “Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh congratulated President-elect Joe Biden in a press conference Sunday morning and urged unity as he listed the herculean tasks facing the city, and the rest of the country. ‘We’re here to mark a historic moment for our country and our city,’ Walsh said, praising Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. ‘We all support them, and we will all be in their corner, whatever they need.’”
– “Census takers say they were told to enter false information,” by Mike Schneider, The Associated Press: “Two census takers told The Associated Press that their supervisors pressured them to enter false information into a computer system about homes they had not visited so they could close cases during the waning days of the once-a-decade national headcount. Maria Arce said her supervisor in Massachusetts offered step-by-step instructions in how to trick the system. She said she felt guilty about lying, but she did not want to disobey her supervisors, who kept repeating that they were under pressure from a regional office in New York to close cases.”
– “Mass. school districts’ plans vary widely on key practices for pandemic-era education, review finds,” by Naomi Martin, Boston Globe: “Only half of Massachusetts’ 40 largest districts spell out to the public how much teacher-led instruction time they expect students to receive during the pandemic. A third of the districts haven’t addressed whether they plan to test students to gauge how the spring’s educational disruptions affected their academic level. And two-thirds haven’t publicly communicated any plan to address chronic absenteeism.”
– “More COVID-19 Cases In Massachusetts Correctional Facilities,” by Deborah Becker, WBUR: “Like the rest of Massachusetts, there are increased cases of the coronavirus in state correctional facilities, including 140 prisoners who have now tested positive at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Norfolk. Widespread testing began at Norfolk last week after two prisoners tested positive. Test results on 300 men there are still pending.”
– “When teens host parties, some school districts return to remote learning. But does the science support that?” by Felicia Gans, Boston Globe: “As coronavirus cases surge across Massachusetts, some school districts have proactively returned to remote learning after teenagers in their community hosted large gatherings, rather than waiting for positive cases to crop up. The school officials behind these decisions say that a high school party held in a room packed with teens, unmasked, sharing drinks, and not socially distancing could be the perfect recipe for a superspreader.”
– “Tears Of Joy And Mourning As Boston’s Black Activists Look To The Future,” by Tori Bedford, GBH News: “Before she raised her microphone to speak, activist Monica Cannon-Grant began to cry tears of joy as a Beyoncé song bounced off the sound chamber of buildings in Boston City Hall Plaza on Sunday afternoon. ‘Do you know how important it is that there’s a Brown skin girl in charge of this country?’ Cannon-Grant said to a crowd of more than 100 people gathered on the cobblestones.”
– “Mass. Republican Party, which tied itself to Trump, hopes amid the reckoning,” by Brian MacQuarrie, Boston Globe: “The Massachusetts Republican Party is no stranger to struggling for relevance. And this year, with President Trump on the ballot in one of the bluest of blue states, the portents held more than the usual peril. But after losing two seats overall in the State House and Senate, a sense in GOP circles was that Election Day could have been worse.”
– “Supporting player or power broker?” by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: “An explosive report into how the Massachusetts Democratic Party leadership handled sexual misconduct allegations involving former congressional candidate Alex Morse and his relationship with college students is bringing fresh controversy to an already contentious battle over control of the state party. The report released Friday by independent investigator Cheryl Jacques faults Democratic Party chairman Gus Bickford and the party’s executive director for their handling of the Morse incident –– and comes less than a week before Bickford is up for reelection as party chair.”
– Former Rep. Michael Capuano on President-elect Joe Biden should balance different wings of the Democratic party, during an interview on WCVB’s “On the Record” which aired Sunday: “I’m hoping that Joe Biden governs as president the way he served as a senator, which was moderately liberal. And again, I’m probably more liberal than he is, and I would be one of those people pushing for a more liberal agenda. At the same time, it’s more important to be in the majority and to have the White House than it is to get everything I want. Because if you have Donald Trump in the White House, you get nothing. And I would rather take small steps to advance than no steps at all and simply feel good about me being right.” Link.
– “Advocates warn service cuts could send T into ‘death spiral,’” by Erin Tiernan, Boston Herald: “A set of service cuts expected to be announced Monday to help float the cash-strapped MBTA through the coronavirus pandemic could send the flailing transit system into a ‘death spiral,’ advocates warn. ‘They’re talking about cutting weekend service on commuter lines, cutting some bus lines entirely, cutting ferries from Hingham and Hull — these are pretty drastic and would really have an impact on people’s access to transit at a challenging time,’ said Chris Dempsey, director of the advocacy group Transportation for Massachusetts.”
– “Treasury Secretary Warren? Progressives Line Up to Press Their Agenda on Biden,” by Sydney Ember, The New York Times: “They have an extensive blacklist for possible Biden appointees they do not like. They want to elevate allies like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to premier government posts. And they are even considering the possibility of bypassing Senate approval to fill executive branch roles.”
– “Moulton To Support Nancy Pelosi For House Speaker,” by David S. Bernstein, GBH News: “U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who led unsuccessful efforts to change Democratic House leadership in both 2017 and 2019 before unsuccessfully running for President, will vote for Nancy Pelosi this January to be speaker of the House for the upcoming 117th Congress.”
– “Lamenting education formula, Western Mass. lawmakers seek equitable funding,” by Danny Jin, The Berkshire Eagle: “In a year during which local budgets are expected to be stretched thin, the push to ensure equity in the state’s education funding has gained renewed urgency. Some Western Massachusetts towns, according to state lawmakers in the region, pay disproportionately more to maintain service levels when state aid falls short.”
– “Joe Biden won this Massachusetts city that voted for Donald Trump in 2016; here’s why experts call it a bellwether for national politics,” by Jim Kinney, Springfield Republican: “Do you think the city of Westfield – where President-elect Joe Biden beat Donald J. Trump by about 300 votes – is a bellwether, that elusive, perfectly calibrated microcosm that reflects the nation as a whole? The folks who do Election Day exit polling have thought so for decades, says Richard K. Sullivan Jr., a Democrat who served as mayor for seven terms and has held elective office in the Whip City for more than 20 years.”
– “Nursing home COVID-19 deaths grow to 66% of total in state,” James F. Russell, Telegram & Gazette: “Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, testing and caring for patients in nursing homes is still sorely lacking, according to the city’s top health official, Dr. Michael P. Hirsh. According to Gov. Charlie Baker, the state is doing the best it can. On Friday, Baker said that even more effort will be made to address the public health dimension involving nursing homes and the novel coronavirus.”
– “Lawrence residents eligible for $1.6M in COVID-19 housing relief,” by Allison Corneau, Eagle-Tribune: “A new rental assistance program is available for residents in need amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with locals able to share in more than $1.6 million available through a variety of methods, according to Mayor Daniel Rivera. Through a partnership with Rivera’s office, Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Community Development Director Vilma Martinez-Dominguez and the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, emergency rental assistance is now available to low-income Lawrence residents whose housing has been directly impacted by the coronavirus crisis.”
– “Two open meeting law complaints filed against the Billerica selectmen,” by Stefan Geller, The Lowell Sun: “Two Open Meeting Law complaints have been filed against the Board of Selectmen, accusing them of illegally voting to disband the town’s Economic Development Department last month without giving residents any notice.”
SPOTTED: “Jennifer Lawrence celebrates Biden’s win by running through the streets of Boston,” by Rachel Raczka, Boston Globe: “Where were you when you heard that Joe Biden had been declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday? Well, we know where Jennifer Lawrence was. Running through the streets of Boston, screaming and cheering, while blasting Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ in her pajamas and a face mask.”
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY – to Emily Ruddock, executive director of MASSCreative, who celebrated Saturday; and CommonWealth Magazine’s Michael Jonas, who celebrated Sunday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to Mike Bloomberg, chief of staff to Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who is 31; Pamela J. Johnson and Karen Scott, a doctoral student at MIT Sloan and Obama NEC alum.
NEW EPISODE: DOWN FOR THE COUNT – On this week’s Horse Race podcast, hosts Steve Koczela, Jennifer Smith and Stephanie Murray break down the results of the 2020 election, with insights on the presidential race, local contests and polling. Subscribe and listen on iTunes and Sound Cloud.
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