Q&A #2: Fight For Markey’s Seat

“Face The Deer” asks:

“How about an annotated ranking of the MA5 special?”

Well, how about one.

1) Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. Special K looks mighty powerful with the field split the way it currently looks. He’s raising money, he’s putting together a very strong campaign team, and he’s always had the look and demeanor of a big-time candidate. Insiders I talk to are increasingly of the opinion that it’s his to lose, and while I don’t think he’s a huge favorite, I agree he’s most likely.

2) State Senator Katherine Clark. Did you feel that tsunami of excitement when Martha Coakley endorsed her last weekend? No? Me neither. Clark’s problem is not just that Karen Spilka divides the women’s vote; Spilka also locks down the most obviously rich targets for Clark outside her geographic base, in the lush-lawned suburbs of MetroWest. Can Clark resonate in the grittier, working-class towns on the eastern edge of the district, like Revere and Winthrop? People I speak with are skeptical. Nevertheless, Clark remains a top-notch, well-funded candidate who many consider the favorite.

3) State Senator Karen Spilka. Spilka may be furthest removed geographically from those unclaimed eastern territories, but some argue to me that she’s the one most likely to win those communities over. Spilka might not be the slickest pol, but she’s awfully likable, and I think if Clark stumbles Spilka might be able to take advantage.

4) State Senator Will Brownsberger. I feel odd ranking him fourth, when I really think he has a good chance to win — I really don’t think there’s that much separating first and fourth on this list. Brownsberger is raising good money and putting together a good team — and, despite many first impressions of him as a gangly nerd representing wealthy Belmont, I learned in his special senate election that Brownsberger is very appealing to a pretty wide range of voters. If Koutoujian fails to impress, Brownsberger has some voter-rich towns in the crook of the district to draw from.

5) State Representative Carl Sciortino. Again, fifth doesn’t mean long-shot in this race. Sciortino has a solid army of progressive volunteers, a very strong fundraising operation, and the ability to win progressive voters in every part of the district. I don’t see how those votes add up to victory very easily — but bear in mind, with four other strong candidates, he doesn’t need anywhere close to 50%+1 to win. Definitely not to be taken lightly.