The explanation may be that Democratic insiders, though not necessarily convinced that Tsongas is the best candidate, got behind her because of early signs that she was going to romp in the primary. That’s the view of one political consultant, who is not working for any of the candidates. Others see it the other way around: those donors are trying to clear the path to victory, by creating a sense of inevitability with their support.

Either way, comparisons to Tom Reilly are increasingly heard. Like Tsongas, Reilly had the early support, and funding, of the Democratic elites when he ran for governor in 2006. He finished third in September’s primary. A similar fate befell Deb Goldberg in the primary for lieutenant governor. If what happened to her happens to Tsongas, will the Democratic insiders have any credibility left?

Tsongas’s monopoly on those party insiders has seriously hurt Donoghue’s ability to raise money — but, according to one of her campaign advisors, she’s willing to spend whatever it takes from her own pocket to compete. Finegold has been a juggernaut, raising more than $700,000, with $450,000 still on hand — almost as much as Tsongas, when you subtract over-the-limit contributions she can’t use until the general election. Eldridge, meanwhile, has carved out a niche as the lefty candidate, and has raised more than a quarter-million, which is impressive for a relative unknown.

Although trailing a bit in the money race, Finegold, Donoghue, and Eldridge make up for it with impressive get-out-the-vote organizations, observers say. What those candidates fear, however, is that an aura of Tsongas inevitability could prompt pols and unions, anxious to join a winning team, to endorse her. They would bring their organizations with them, supplying just what she needs to make that “inevitability” a reality.

Not changing the climate?
Perhaps because it didn’t involve Madonna or Fergie, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ latest report on global warming didn’t make much of a splash. The report makes the case that, without serious action — not just changing light bulbs, but changing state and national policies — Massachusetts will soon have serious problems.

The report was supposed to help bolster the backbones of state pols, to help them stand up to business interests and pass serious emissions standards, such as those on the books in California.

That silence you heard was the response. Perhaps they’ll get to it just after they adopt Governor Deval Patrick’s corporate-tax proposals.

The new report envisions the state climate under two possible futures: loosely, the do-nothing and the do-something scenarios. Under the do-nothing scenario, with no significant reduction in emissions, by mid century our summers in Massachusetts will feel like those now felt by residents of Northern Virginia, the report claims.

Sweating profusely will be the least of our problems. Air quality will get worse. “Once-in-a-century” coastal flooding will occur as often as every other year. Sea levels will rise, dramatically accelerating beach erosion. The fishing industry will be devastated by the depletion, due to warming waters, of Atlantic cod and lobster. Some crops that require winter chill periods, including the state’s famous cranberries, could become untenable. Skiing and other winter activities that drive the tourism industry could disappear.

Related reports from the Cambridge-based group make even more dire predictions about other New England states. In all, it’s a serious warning about the local economic consequences of global climate change.

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