New Hampshire Primary Results Mean Massachusetts Matters In 2016
Hey Massachusetts, our presidential primary matters this cycle.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s abysmal loss to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary sets the stage for a battle between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party in Mass. Nearly all of the state’s political machines are lined up behind Clinton. Only a handful of state legislators, including progressive stalwart State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, are backing Sanders. Notably absent from the contest is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a potential kingmaker in the race for the nomination.
A similar battle occurred in the Bay State in 2008 when Clinton was in a 12-round battle with then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama. The dividing line between the two factions in 2008 was nowhere near as clear as it is today. Obama had the backing of a sizable chunk of the state’s Democratic establishment in Gov. Deval Patrick and Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Clinton received extensive support from lower level elected officials, including late Boston Mayor Tom Menino, on her way to a 16 point win over the future president.
The two campaigns have healthy operations in the state, but Clinton’s allies and their organizations on the ground make her the favorite in the March 1 primary.
The March 1 primary dates makes Massachusetts, once again, a participant in what’s traditionally known as Super Tuesday, the busiest day on the primary calendar. This year, Super Tuesday has been dubbed the SEC Primary, because many of the states voting this time around are members of the famed college sports conference.
Things are a bit murkier on the Republican side of things in Massachusetts, where sporadic polling has shown New York real estate mogul Donald Trump with a sizable lead.
The small pool of elected Republicans in the state is divided between Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florid Sen. Marco Rubio, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. No elected Republicans have endorsed Trump in the race, though he has vocal support on local conservative talk radio.
Gov. Charlie Baker endorsed Christie the weekend before the New Hampshire primary, but it did not appear to help his friend: Christie finished a distant sixth on Tuesday. State Sen. Ryan Fattman’s candidate of choice, Rubio, finished fourth.
With major primary states South Carolina and Nevada voting before Massachusetts, it’s likely the crowded Republican field of candidates will shrink before voters go to the polls. Plus, for the first time in two presidential cycles, the state is up for grabs on the Republican side because former Gov. Mitt Romney is not on the ballot.
Massachusetts may not matter in the electoral college, but this year it does matter in the primaries.