Worcester Rising

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  September 3, 2010

And then there's the other side of the aisle, where Worcester-area Republicans — mostly in the suburbs — are also on the move.

Polito's political star has been rising for several years; many expected Baker to pick her as his running mate. She was one of Scott Brown's best surrogates on the Senate campaign trail, and now some of Brown's — and Mitt Romney's — top advisers are helping her behind the scenes.

If she wins the treasurer's position — and even many Democratic insiders think she's got a good chance — Polito will be on a likely collision path to one day run for Congress, or perhaps governor, against one of her Democratic rivals from Worcester.

Boston's loss
The rise of Worcester's power has coincided with an apparent decrease in Boston's, and some don't think that's a coincidence.

While not wanting to publicly seem to be criticizing Boston's mayor, these insiders suggest that Boston's political apparatus has been devoted exclusively to enhancing the influence of Tom Menino — and preventing the emergence of other, potentially threatening, power holders.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that, for the first time since the 1970s, neither the House Speaker or Senate president comes from a district that includes a portion of Boston — and nor do their likely successors. Only one congressman, Steve Lynch, calls Boston home, and he may have the least juice in DC of the delegation.

This reversal of fortunes between the two cities can be traced, at least in part, to the late Joe Moakley choosing to bequeath his political inheritance to a Worcesterite.

Few things get McGovern more animated than the subject of Moakley, a mentor and, many say, a father figure for him. After McGovern worked for 14 years on Moakley's staff, the Southie Democrat urged him to run for Congress, and then maneuvered to win him a coveted spot on the Rules Committee.

Moakley's Southie savvy and Worcester's pugnacious attitude seems to have created a winning combination — one that Boston's elites won't be able to sneer at much longer.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com.

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