What a Dan Winslow Candidacy Is All About

The Republican is all about bipartisanship, or Mitt Romney, depending on who you ask.

State Representative Dan Winslow, a former judge and Mitt Romney aide, confirmed he'll run for Senate as a Republican in the special election to replace John Kerry. Winslow said earlier this week that he was “99 percent certain” he'd make the run, and Thursday night he pushed it to 100 percent by telling a Boston Globe reporter “I'm in.” In just the few days since Winslow formed his exploratory committee, it's been easy to see how Republicans will sell Winslow and how Democrats will fight him. Here are a few points: 

Winslow is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage so it seems he'll focus more on fiscal issues and “breaking gridlock.” Whereas Elizabeth Warren got traction warning voters about Republican control of the Senate, Democrats now have more than a one-seat majority, so Winslow, like Scott Brown, can appeal to voters' desire for bipartisanship. When forming an exploratory committee, Winslow told reporters, “The only way to break the stalemate is to send a Massachusetts Republican, somebody who has a record of working across and reaching across the aisle.” Globe columnist Scot Lehigh picked up the bipartisanship thread, praising Winslow merely for merely considering a run, saying it was “doing the entire state a favor. Massachusetts needs the clash of ideas that a competitive two-party system brings.”

Meanwhile, Democrats will probably try to say the name “Mitt Romney” as often as possible. The state's party chairman, John Walsh, already released a statement saying, “Republican Dan Winslow was a member of Mitt ­Romney’s inner circle who spent last year as one of the former governor’s apologists and political attack dogs. Winslow will work just as hard to stop President Obama’s agenda in the Senate as he did to deny him a second term and send Mitt Romney to the White House.”

Over at the Democratic blog Blue Mass Group, Bob Neer made the same point linking Winslow to Romney. He also focused in on Winslow's A+ rating with the local NRA. With gun control debate once again a hot topic, Democrats also seem likely to mention his positions on guns a lot, unless Winslow offers up some pro-gun control positions in the course of the race.

Meanwhile, Democrats will have to decide between Reps. Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch in an April primary, and a few other Republicans considering a run still have to make a final decision. Politics probably aren't high on anyone's mind in the middle of a snowstorm, of course, so they'll have a long immobile weekend to do some thinking, we imagine.