Trump’s Mass. Co-Chair Asks if Clinton Has Unknown Illness

Calling her recent pneumonia diagnosis an excuse for needed to rest, the Trump campaign’s Massachusetts co-chair today raised questions about Hillary Clinton’s health.

Appearing on Herald Radio (I was there too), State Rep. Geoff Diehl asked if Clinton is hiding a more severe illness.

“So, Hillary, she’s explained now what happened this last weekend was pneumonia,” Diehl said. “What happened when Trump and Pence were actually together  in Louisisana, and giving out, you know, supplies to people in New Orleans. That weekend she said she was resting. Now, is there a different illness we don’t know about?”
When I asked Diehl directly what made him suspicious of Clinton’s health, he said he had no idea.
“Clearly it was pneumonia this time, I’m not sure what we’ll see next time she has to take a rest,” Diehl added.
“It just seems like there’s an excuse du jour and this one was pneumonia I guess.”
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Tompkins Won’t Take a Salary as MassDems Chair

Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins today told members of the Democratic State Committee that he is still mulling a bid to lead the Massachusetts Democratic Party as Chair.

While he’s still chewing on whether to throw his hat into the ring, Tompkins says he believes that “a Chair who is committed to the success of the Party will not take a salary.” Instead, Tompkins says he will invest money set aside to pay the Chair in hiring new staff.

Tompkins also name-checked U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Tompkins says his work as a campaign advisor to Warren in 2012 prepared him to defeat Gov. Charlie Baker, a popular governor who, along with the legislature, must approve the annual budget for Tompkins’ department.

“I know firsthand what it means to put forth the collective effort needed to take back a statewide office held by a popular Republican,” Tompkins wrote.

Here’s the full text of Tompkins’ email to state committee members today:

Dear XXXX,

Since Chairman McGee announced Sunday he won’t seek reelection as the Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, many of my colleagues on the State Committee have reached out to encourage me to put my hat in the ring.  While I am grateful for the confidence you have in my ability to lead, I have not yet made a decision as to whether I will pursue the opportunity.  However, our discussions have inspired me to think about the strengths of our Party  –  our commitment to working for the common good, our belief in promoting inclusion through grassroots organizing, our unwavering spirit – and how an effective chair could harness them to empower Democrats across Massachusetts to work together to make a difference.

To me, the success of a potential Chair is not only dependent on his or her ability to manage and execute.  A thriving Party requires a Chair who is willing to lead by listening and learning from MassDems from every corner of the Commonwealth and translating it into actions.

As MassDems, we believe that the leadership and composition of our Party should reflect the diversity of our Commonwealth. A successful Chair will prioritize recruiting and inspiring people of color to actively engage with the Party, especially as candidates for public office.

As MassDems, we organize around the basic notion that government plays a vital role in the lives of individuals and communities.  A successful Chair will have the ability to speak articulately and insightfully about the issues that affect people’s everyday lives: job creation and training, health care, education, criminal justice, tackling income inequality and housing.

As MassDems, we embrace the entrepreneurial spirit that drives industries and communities throughout our state. A successful Chair will utilize new, innovative approaches to make our Party more efficient and effective in building sustainable systems and programs.

As MassDems, we believe that the best results are achieved by working together to make a positive impact. A successful Chair can cultivate political, grassroots and economic partnerships with individuals and organizations to build on our collective values.

I’m humbled to hear from many of you, my DSC colleagues, who believe I have these qualities. After meeting many of you during my time as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s senior political advisor, I know firsthand what it means to put forth the collective effort needed to take back a statewide office held by a popular Republican. Since Governor Deval Patrick appointed me Sheriff of Suffolk County, I’ve worked hard to bring people together and start conversations about how we better address issues of social, racial and economic justice.

Our ability to defeat Charlie Baker and strengthen Democratic strongholds across the Commonwealth relies on both strong grassroots tactics and an executive leadership team with a proven track record to the Party. I believe a Chair who is committed to the success of the Party will not take a salary; instead, the Chair would commit to using his or her salary to increase staff capacity so we can make a difference where it matters most – grassroots activity, communications and fundraising. Hiring eminently-skilled staff that understands management, motivation, messaging, full-time fundraising, working with the media, and supreme problem-solvers is paramount for us to move the needle on growing our Party, winning public policy victories and electing Democrats at the ballot box.

This weekend, I plan to consult family and friends to assist me in making my decision. However, the input I’m most interested in is yours. What do you value in a chair? How can we work together to make the Party more inclusive? Regardless of who you’re supporting, your input matters to me. I hope you’ll consider reaching out via email at or my cell phone 617.XXX-XXXX


Thank you,Steve Tompkins

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Breaking: Wong Takes a Pass on MassDems Chair Race

In an email to Massachusetts Democratic Party State Committee members today, former Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong announced that she will not run to replace Sen. Tom McGee as Chair of the state party. Wong will continue to serve as Deputy Treasurer of the MassDems.

Here’s her email:

It is an exciting time for Democrats

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all of the wonderful calls of support and for those that have urged me to explore the position of the Massachusetts Democratic Party chair. I have enjoyed connecting with many familiar and new friends over the past few days.

I agree with many of you that told me that the Massachusetts Democratic Party deserves a full time chair, and that you are encouraged by the interest in this position.

At this time, I have too many professional, personal and political commitments to join the field of candidates. I do look forward to supporting and working with whomever is elected chair in my current position as Deputy Treasurer.

I will continue to work hard to support Democrats across the Commonwealth and nation. Good luck to all Democrats on the ballot this November. See you all on the campaign trail!

Lisa Wong

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Duff Pushes Salary Cut Pledge to Fellow MassDems Chair Candidates


Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff is asking her fellow candidates for Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair to a pledge to reduce the job’s six-figure salary by as much as 50%. The money saved would be used to hire another full-time staffer, according to the terms of Duff’s proposed agreement.

Duff began reaching out to her competitors today.

Duff was the only candidate set to challenge incumbent MassDems Chair Tom McGee before his  announcement Sunday that he would not seek another term. Since then, enough candidates have stepped forward to field a basketball team.

Just after the Democratic National convention in July, Duff offered rare public criticism of McGee’s soft touch with Charlie Baker in an interview with me on Herald Radio. In response to the MassDems initial refusal to support Attorney General Maura Healey’s amped up enforcement of the state assault weapons ban, Duff said “it’s time for change” at the state party. Weeks ago, Duff started calling state committee members (the people who vote in this election) asking for support.

She deserves credit for having the courage to take on a sitting party chair when change was needed, but it’s not clear if Duff’s lid-loosening early start will be an advantage in the race.

On the strength of a well executed launch, former Lt. Gov. candidate Steve Kerrigan’s entrance into the contest has made the biggest splash so far. A handful of social media savvy supporters of Kerrigan, who has a foot in the tribes of both Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama, have been quick to show their support for him.

I can’t tell if Kerrigan is just making noise, or showing a genuine sign of strength. He certainly doesn’t have the raced locked up, and you should ridicule anyone who tells you that. This is a race for the votes of a couple hundred insiders who live in a complicated web of allegiances, alliances and old grudges. The race is impossible to predict right now.

Other candidates, like long-time MassDems operative Gus Bickford, are taking a more low-key approach. When it comes to the kind of insider logrolling that a race to control the state party turns on, don’t underestimate the strength of a low-key approach.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins is a long shot for the gig, but he seems to be on the same page as Duff. He told WGBH that “if he did get the job, he would probably refuse the six-figure salary and only accept expense reimbursements. Instead, Tompkins said he’d want to use the funds to pay for experienced staff, including a full-time fundraiser.”

Disclaimer: I love all of these candidates equally. 






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Did Polito Say ‘I Do’ to Rosenberg-Hefner Wedding?

Add another confusing chapter to the saga of Karyn Polito’s Potemkin progresion on LGBT rights.

Polito was one of the leaders of the effort to stop marriage equality after the Supreme Judicial Court made Massachusetts the first state in the country to allow same-sex couples to marry. She also sponsored a bunch of anti-LGBT bills while she was in the legislature where she chilled with a particularly homophobic clique. If you just started paying attention to Massachusetts politics in 2014, I’ll forgive you if you don’t know the backstory.

For reasons passing understanding, this isn’t something Martha Coakley’s campaign felt the need to harp on.

Shortly after Charlie Baker asked Polito to be his running mate in late 2013, his campaign attempted to get ahead of the inevitable mentions of her Schlafly-esque past by declaring that she had changed her mind on marriage equality. The campaign put out a statement, but Polito herself dodged reporters questions and tried her best not to talk about the issue.

Here’s what happened when MassLive’s Rob Rizzutto tried to ask Polito about it a month before Election Day in 2014:

When asked to speak briefly with Polito on Thursday in regards to her change of heart on the issue of gay marriage, her campaign said she was too busy to talk and instead released the following statement.

“I embrace marriage equality and I supported civil unions at a time when most Republicans a decade ago did not,” Polito said in the statement. “Like many, including President Obama, my position has evolved and I support the rights of men and women to marry whomever they love and will continue to support the progress achieved over the last decade.”

When Polito was campaigning in Springfield on Friday, and an attempt was made to connect with her to chat on the topic, her campaign referred to the previously provided statement.

Earlier this year, in the heat of the battle of the new transgender public accommodations law, Polito gave the keynote address at an event organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. In her 10 minute speech, she didn’t talk about LGBT people at all.

Last year, Senate President Stan Rosenberg told reporters all over town that Polito would officiate his planned wedding to long time beau Bryon Hefner. A watermark moment for a convert to modernity, it would be Polito’s chance to show that not only was she FOR gay marriage, she was going to do some gay marrying herself.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that plan came to fruition.

Last week, Rosenberg’s office put out a short statement announcing that he and Hefner had quietly married last Tuesday in Cambridge. Rosenberg’s spokesperson declined to answer when I asked her if Polito officiated. Baker’s office did not respond to me.

The wedding was not listed on Polito’s public schedule, and it’s hard to believe that after promoting the idea heavily a year ago, Rosenberg and the Baker administration would clam up about it now if Polito had carried through with officiating.

Bakerland says Polito evolved on marriage equality, but she won’t talk about it. She gave a speech to an LGBT group, and didn’t mention LGBT people. She agreed to officiate a same-sex wedding, but apparently did not.

Is Polito uncomfortable talking about queer folks? Or, would personally advocating for something she doesn’t actually believe feel more like lying to her than statements released in her name?

We almost had a chance to find out, but we’ll have to keep waiting.




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Bickford Enters Race for MassDems Chair

Former MassDems Executive Director and Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 data guru Gus Bickford threw his hat in the ring to replace Sen. Tom McGee as Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Below is the email Bickford sent out to State Committee members this morning. (Name and number redacted by me.)


Dear XXXX,

I’m writing to let you know that I have decided to run for Chair of the Democratic Party.  My motivation is simple: the job exists to create a structure to elect Democrats at all levels and I have spent 25 years doing just that.  As a former Executive Director, campaign operative and Coordinated Campaign Director, I have the knowledge and experience to get the job done.

Recognizing that the strength of our party lies in all of us, I realize that no one person can do it all.  I envision the task at hand is to work with the grassroots, elected leaders, labor, ward and town committees and state committee members to unify our message and to re-elect Senator Warren and defeat Governor Baker.

As an integral part of Sen. Warren’s Campaign, we showed how to beat the Republicans at their own game.  We need to keep her in office and put those lessons to good use as we build the structure to elect a Democratic Governor in 2018.

I humbly ask for your support and will be calling you soon.


Gus Bickford


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Kerrigan, Duff to Run for MassDems Chair

There’s a good chance the MassDems will soon have an LGBT leader.

In an email to State Committee Members today, former Lt. Gov. candidate Steve Kerrigan announced that he would run to succeed Sen. Tom McGee as Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. McGee said last night that he would not seek reelection.

Kerrigan will compete against Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff, who has been working for weeks to built support amongst State Committee Members. Duff will make her official announcement within the next few days, I’m told.  Duff is a lesbian, Kerrigan is gay.

A small handful of other candidates are said to be mulling a bid for the thankless, but well-paid gig, according to the Globe.

Below is the email Kerrigan sent this afternoon. I have redacted Kerrigan’s telephone number and email address.



The Democratic Party has always stood proudly for equality of opportunity throughout our Commonwealth and nation, through times of great progress and dire challenge. We are the party that has restored a damaged economy, expanded health care access for millions, championed civil rights for all, protected the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, won safeguards and fair wages for working people, provided high quality education and a better future for all our children.

Today, I’m asking you to join me in taking our party to the next level as Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

I have always identified with and vigorously supported the principles and progressive values of the Democratic Party. They were formed in my upbringing as the son of a Mass Electric lineman and elementary school secretary in Lancaster, forged in my years of work for Senator Ted Kennedy, and showcased proudly when I served as CEO of the 2012 Democratic National Convention and oversaw President Obama’s inaugurals in 2009 and 2013.

As most of you know, there is nothing like a campaign to fully test one’s beliefs and ideals.

In 2014, I had the great honor and privilege of serving as our party’s nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Traveling our state for nearly two years and meeting the great people of this Commonwealth reinforced in me – more than ever – the need for bold, energetic Democratic leadership to bring opportunity and prosperity to all.

It is with that deep and abiding conviction in the progressive values of our party and the belief that I possess the skills and experience to take it to new heights, that I announce my candidacy for Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

As Chairman, I will ensure we have best-in-the-nation infrastructure, organizing every precinct and community in the Commonwealth, not just in election years, but 365 days every year, with the goal of building a broad and diverse party through increased participation and engagement.

In addition, I believe it is imperative that we work to restore connections between the party and our communities. We will harness party resources to serve people and communities in need, have the party act as convener for constituent groups with shared interests, and increase outreach efforts to communities of color, millennials and other growing constituencies.

And, I will build on the work done by Chairman McGee, to recruit and assist the very best Democratic candidates at all levels of government and travel the Commonwealth to listen to and engage with those at the grassroots level.

There is much work to be done. But we will be building on the strong foundations of those who have come before us. My parents taught me many years ago that, when you have experience, skills, and an ability to make a difference, you have an obligation to do so. I know that, as Chairman, I can make a difference in the future of our Democratic party and, with all of you, in the lives of the people of Massachusetts.

I will be reaching out to members of the State Committee in the coming days. I look forward to hearing your ideas and hopes about the future of our party. You can always reach me at (617) 2XX-XXXX or via email at

Together, we can build a party we can all be proud of and one which will continue to best advance the progressive, Democratic values we hold so dear.


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