Ask Me Anything Q&A #4: Governor Speculation

Time for some Governor 2014 questions! “Drew” asks:

I know that we have a lot of #MAPOLI excitement going on right now, between the Senate Special, the munis and Brownsberger, Sciortinio, Clark et al in the 5th but I am still looking ahead to 14. Who is going to be our next governor? Steve Grossman? Dan Wolf? Mike Capuano? The darkest horse Scott Lang? Are we going to get a game changer (such as Caps) to enter the race or will Grossman walk away with the nomination due to the apathy of everyone? Does Baker crush Grossman or have we turned a corner in terms of Democratic activism in the state that will keep the GOP out of statewide office permanently?

And “disqus ATtWc8V4wg” (hey, I went to school with a Cindy ATtWc8V4wg—related?) asks:

Based on the SHNS story earlier this week—the 2014 Gov field looks like it could be all or any of these in the Dem field: Capuano, Grossman, Sullivan, Avellone, Berwick, Wolf, Driscoll, and Curtatone. What’s your assessment of each of them, and is there anyone the conventional wisdom is missing who’s a prospect?

Here’s something to chew on: At this point in the 2006 election cycle (May 2005), little-known gubernatorial hopeful Deval Patrick had raised roughly $500,000. The candidates hoping to trod that path, such as Don Berwick and Joe Avellone, are nowhere near that number—and they won’t have the one-on-one shot Patrick did against Tom Reilly for much of the primary race. And Patrick didn’t have Democratic activists and donors distracted the way they are and will be throughout 2013.

So what I’m saying is I think it’s going to be hard for lesser-known candidates (on the Democratic side) to make headway, especially if they haven’t started. I think Treasurer Steve Grossman is obviously running, and would likely survive the primary (unlike Reilly in ’06) if he’s the only big, well-funded candidate. I don’t think he will be. I expect one or both the Somervillians to run: congressman Mike Capuano and mayor Joe Curtatone. I think state senator Dan Wolf, since he can presumably self-fund much of his campaign, could be a factor, but I think it’s getting awfully late for him to start.

I have long believed—even before Tim Murray vacated the field—that the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee is likely to be a current or former mayor. That’s in part because voters like executives for the top executive role, in part because the municipal-leader political networks are particularly strong statewide, and in part because the less Beacon Hill taint on a candidate, the better.

That bodes poorly for Grossman, in my opinion, despite his strong head start, and for Wolf. I think Curtatone is a very strong candidate if he runs. I think Salem mayor Kim Driscoll could be a very strong candidate—although, since she’s running for re-election, she’d be getting a late start—but I suspect that she might get talked into running for lieutenant governor (since these menfolk are going to desperately want a woman on the ticket). I think Capuano, a former mayor who has run statewide, could be strong.

All of this gets thrown back into chaos if attorney general Martha Coakley runs, which some suspect she’ll do despite her many protestations. I don’t think she’s a shoe-in for the nomination by any means, but she becomes the immediate favorite and completely changes the dynamic of the race.

Oh, and I think it’s a little over 50 percent chance that Charlie Baker beats any of them to become governor.

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