Scott Brown’s stunning victory in January’s special US Senate election continues to reverberate through Massachusetts politics. Republicans keep grasping for those populist “Scott Brown voters,” as gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker did with last week’s “Had Enough” campaign tour. And Democrats fret over those once-reliable blue-collar workers, who now no longer follow the direction of ward bosses and union reps.
That Democratic fear may help explain the strange silence of party leaders and activists with regards to Guy Glodis, a conservative former state rep and senator, now sheriff of Worcester County, who is running for state auditor.
A number of party veterans are privately fuming about his likely successful candidacy. To them, Glodis is on the wrong side of nearly every liberal issue — gay rights, the death penalty, gun control, taxes, diversity — and, more than that, has left a trail of crude comments that gives him a reputation as a piggish, misogynistic boor who would be an embarrassment to represent the party on the statewide ballot.
But these criticisms have remained behind the scenes, while the gregarious Glodis has glad-handed his way along the campaign trail. His past votes and deeds are generally unknown, certainly outside his Worcester home base, and even to most party delegates. As a result, he is expected to receive a warm reception, and perhaps even the lion’s share of the party delegates’ votes, when delegates meet next weekend in Worcester for the Democratic state convention.
Glodis’s smooth ride belies the conventional wisdom about Massachusetts, which says that the days of conservative Democrats — once a major political force — are dead and gone in the Bay State.
There may be several explanations for the silence of his critics. Some, undoubtedly, are willing to believe that, as he puts it, he is “not the Neanderthal some people say.”
In addition, there seems to be little enthusiasm for Glodis’s primary opponents. Suzanne Bump, former state representative and labor secretary under Deval Patrick, has yet to gain much traction, judging by the tepid comments of party activists, and weak fundraising of barely $100,000 (plus $50,000 from her own pocket). Mike Lake, a young progressive, has support, but is generally seen as unlikely to be competitive statewide.
That leaves many party insiders believing that Glodis — a good campaigner, very likable in person, with a strong base of support in Worcester County — is the probable nominee and likely winner in November.
Given Glodis’s chances and the broad scope and discretion of the auditor’s office to investigate and report on state agencies, municipalities, and those who do business with the state, many who oppose his candidacy may have chosen to keep quiet so as not to make an enemy of the office’s next occupant.
But there may be yet another calculation at work, by Democrats who fear losing statewide races to GOP candidates: Glodis might be exactly the kind of candidate to win back those Scott Brown voters.
“I acknowledge that I’m an underdog at the convention,” says Glodis. “But some of the weaknesses at the convention may be strengths in both the primary and the general election.”
Some party insiders may be inclined to agree — even if that means biting their tongues about what they really think of Glodis.