The intrigue surrounding the special election to replace current Secretary of State John Kerry’s Senate seat has essentially been focused on ex-Sen. Scott Brown. With the entry of longtime Rep. Ed Markey (with the backing of the establishment and the netroots) and the expected re-entry of Brown, Democrats were prepared for a slugfest this summer.
Then the race was turned on its head. First the Democrats had to deal with the newly launched candidacy of Rep. Stephen Lynch. Lynch, who drew the ire of progressives for his “nay” vote against the Affordable Care Act, does appear to have regained his support amongst labor organizations. Lynch will safely be in Congress, barring scandal (well if John Tierney is of any indication, maybe not even scandal) for the remainder of his life but he does represent a slightly more conservative portion of Massachusetts than Markey or the newly-elected Joseph Kennedy III. Lynch is a pro-life Roman Catholic who does represent his district quite well.
Nonetheless, Lynch’s candidacy (at the time) upset several Democrats who wanted Markey to avoid the bloodiness that intra party conflicts usually tend to provide. Look no further than essentially every GOP primary that has happened since 2010 for a picture of what can happen when the primaries become contested.
Then again, Lynch’s candidacy was moreso an annoyance (it’ll be very hard for a lean-middle Democrat to beat a progressive such as Markey in Massachusetts) than a serious threat to the Markey campaign. But all of the headaches existed for the sole reason that it was widely assumed that Scott Brown would run again.
A funny thing then happened. Scott Brown deferred. He actually decided against the race that almost was essentially created for him. Does anyone really think the Susan Rice debacle with the John Kerry cheerleading by Republican Senators wasn’t because of the potential of a special election in Massachusetts?
Of course it was.
So now Republicans are still scrambling to find a candidate now that their heavyweight has decided to duck the fight. To be fair, the Republican Party does have one candidate that has the potential to be an interesting candidate. Former State Sen. Richard Tisei appears to fit into the “Brown vein” as a moderate type of guy that has some appeal in blue Massachusetts. Tisei is also openly gay and would be a representation that the Republican Party is at least attempting to diversify its caucus.
But Tisei lost to an embattled John Tierney by a few thousand votes and after losing in the 2010 gubernatorial race (as Charlie Baker’s lieutenant governor’s nominee); it appears Tisei doesn’t want to lose for the third time in three years. Plus he’s probably looking at a rematch against Tierney anyway.
Then there was former Governor William Weld who was a highly popular Governor in the 90s and gave John Kerry the race of his life in the 1996 election cycle. However even though Weld moved back to Massachusetts, the idea that he ran for the GOP nomination for New York Governor probably puts an end to any future political moves.
So now the Massachusetts GOP has lost their heavyweight, their prospect and their retired champ. Now they have to look at the flyweights if you want to keep up with these boxing metaphors.
Enter Tagg Romney.
Yes, THAT Tagg Romney. The Tagg Romney who wanted to punch President Obama during the town hall presidential debate. The Tagg Romney who stated that his Dad, who had been essentially running for President since 2006, never “wanted” to be President.
But on the surface, Tagg Romney wouldn’t be the worst of all potential candidates. He has name recognition, has unlimited coffers in his backpocket which would mean lesser NSCC money being spent and has experience on the campaign trail. Then you realize his name recognition is probably in the negatives (thanks Dad!), those hedge fund managers probably wouldn’t want to take a risk on a Romney right now and he hasn’t been known to be most enthralling speaker on the circuit. Say what you will about Scott Brown (and I’d love to) but at least he had a schtick to make himself look like one of the guys.
Tagg Romney would also be a dream candidate for Democrats to run against. I personally would believe that many liberals from across the country would be willing to donate money to beat a Romney for nostalgia purposes. In fact, I’d love to be in a world where my children can donate money to defeat someone with the Romney surname. It’s the American Dream we all want for our children, I suppose.
Tagg Romney even appeared to briefly consider the idea. He’s a young guy who probably will one day run for public office and take the torch from his father and grandfather.
But kudos to Tagg, smarter heads prevailed and he announced he would not run for Senate but left the tantalizing line that “the timing is not right for me.”
Then again though, the idea that Tagg Romney was being recruited to run in this race shows the desperation of the GOP in a race that they must think is potentially winnable. Odds are, the GOP thought that having Scott Brown fighting for Tagg would’ve helped him with “average Joes” but we won’t get to see that pipe dream come to fruition.
To be turned down is a rite of passage that any adult has to go through. The reason that being turned down hurts is that in your mind you believed that you had a chance. To see that chance stripped from you is what hurst the most as it shows weakness and confirms failure. Then there is the whole “rebound” (aka Tagg Romney) that just isn’t the same as what you yearned for.
Now the onus of the Republicans attention will likely settle on former LG Kerry Healey as the number one recruit and she’s probably the most likely to take the plunge. Healey served alongside with then-Governor Romney so it’s probably the closest the GOP is going to get to getting a Romney.
But it might be time for them to admit that they got dumped one too many times.