OK- lots happening....
Let's see, looks like the state legislature is going to grant the Governor the power to appoint a "temporary" replacement for the open MA senate seat. This should be wrapped up in a few days. Can you say Senator Michael Dukakis...
With Lynch taking a pass on the race (my guess is that his own internal polling showed few paths to victory), a new face enters the race. Venture capitalist and part owner of the Boston Celtics Stephen Pagliuca is launching a bid for the seat. He describes himself as a progressive Democrat and has enough money to buy quick name recognition. However, I still really think Martha Coakley will take this race. Yes I know its early - but I give her a 65% chance of winning the primary and the election.
Pagliuca's entrance may hurt Mike Capuano somewhat as he really needs a one on one race to increase his low name recognition (see new poll below). A three way race benefits Coakley because she has a large portion of the electorate in her corner due to her high name recognition. She also has a 53% favorability rating in the latest Suffolk University poll. Contrast this with Capuano having a 16% favorability rating and 33% having never heard of him. He has work to do. Barney Frank's endorsement and his announcement yesterday has him entering as the darling of liberal wing of the party. This is a smart strategy as liberal activists (and in Massachusetts there are lots of them in vote-rich areas) will be the most actuated to show up on December 8.
It is too early to estimate Pagliuca's impact on the race. My initial guess is that although he has a lot of money a race like this will be very tough for him. The major groups especially labor are already lining up behind Coakley and they can deliver votes. If he ran as an independent in the general election, it could make things more interesting. However, if either of the other two candidates make any serious mistakes, voters may give Pagliuca another look.
With the primary is less than three months away this is how the early race is shaping up through the recent Suffolk University poll:
Coakley - 47%
Capuano - 9%
Suffolk polling on the General Election in January also shows Coakley in the catbird seat against likely Republican candidate Scott Brown.
Coakley - 54%
Brown - 24%
Undecided - 20%
Scott Brown (who I am planning to support) has maybe a 5% chance of pulling a spectacular upset. Massachusetts truly is the bluest state and the R next to his name alienates nearly half of the voters immediately. I think it won't be 30 point blowout and he will do better against a Capuano, but he is in this race to increase his name recognition in my opinion. Look for him to run for another statewide office in the future.