No One Cares About the Governor's Council (At Least on the South Coast)

A bizarre footnote to the election is the 1st District Governor’s Council Race (think Cape and South Coast): The incumbent was Charles Cipollini, who won the seat in 2010 with a victory over the Democratic candidate, lost to his brother Oliver Cipollini.

Lest you think this is a story of feuding brothers with opposing philosophies, Charles helpfully clarified to the Globe in 2010: “I have the same views as my brother. I’m like a fallback.’’ The brothers also have actively campaigned for one another.

While in office, Charles Cipollini made the post a perpetual thorn in the side of Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who serves as chairman of the meetings.

In this year’s election—again marked by no distinction between the two brothers—Oliver Cipollini ousted his brother by more than 30,000 votes.

Part of me finds the result intriguing: Given two identical candidates separated only by party labels, it appears that the “Democratic Party” tag was worth approximately 10 percentage points on the South Coast and Cape in this election. It’s a regrettable state of affairs and gives credence to those voices calling for the abolition of the Council.

  • agingcynic

    Also gives credence to the theory that a schnauzer could be elected in MA with a “D” after his/her name.

  • Josh Ostroff

    A few thoughts in response. First, in the September Democratic primary in the 1st council district, three candidates were separated by 633 votes, or just over 1% of all votes cast. Oliver Cipollini won with under 34% of the vote. (Had he not boycotted a debate in Fall River, the results may have been different.) In a high turnout election year, it was foreseeable that he would win in the general election, particularly given how much of an embarrassment his brother has been in his term. Perhaps in the next election cycle there will be a qualified consensus alternative who does not split the vote. A similar story played out this year in the 3rd GC district.

    Second, abolishing the council sounds good – but what is the alternative? Legislative approval of judicial appointments?

    Finally, the Governor’s Council has some welcome new members – let’s see how Eileen Duff and Bob Jubinville contribute, for example, and also see if the actions of the council are reported in the media.

  • Patrick McCabe

    Interesting story, but it would be nice if the author bothered to get the facts straight.

    Only one nomination has been stopped by the Governor’s Council.

    Councilor Cippolini voted in favor of that nominee.

    If people are interested in the council I have been trying to post what goes on at my website:

    or you may read the rantings of a poorly informed “reporter”

    • Josh Ostroff

      Patrick, you may be referring to a news article from April 2011 that is linked from the story that appears on this page. If you are criticizing the reporting of Steve Poftak that may be misplaced. At the time the WBUR article was published, Cippolini has just been in office a few months.