Same Old Faces

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  June 24, 2010

Another is Lyric Consulting, founded in 2008 by two former state house staffers. Their current clients include Polito and Perry.

Beyond that, pickings have been relatively slim. Both Willington and Lyric's Fred Van Magness say that, while there are more Republicans running for office this year than in recent memory, most are first-time candidates struggling to raise the money to hire consultants.

Interestingly, this was supposed to be a year when Bay State political consultants of both parties got fat off the overabundance of high-profile (and high-dollar) campaigns. But that hasn't quite panned out as expected.

Among other things, 2010 has failed to produce the wealthy, self-funding candidates that have been so good to Massachusetts political consultants in recent years. Chris Gabrieli, Healey, Christy Mihos, and Steve Pagliuca each spent millions on their statewide campaigns; there are no similar deep-pocketed candidates this year.

That's made it even harder for actual "outsider" consultants to make a living — meaning that, as usual, the more things "change," the more they stay the same.

Worcester spending
The Democrats and Republicans each held their state conventions at Worcester's DCU Center this year, and both were somewhat budget-conscious affairs. The Republicans outdid the Democrats in tightening their belts, at least as judged by their care and feeding of the media, and — perhaps as a result — harvested less energetic and positive press.

The Democrats also had at least three sizable Friday-night parties. Patrick and Murray joined with Worcester congressman Jim McGovern to host a tent party; Worcester native Guy Glodis threw a party for delegates at Viva Bene Restaurant; and incumbent statewide officeholders Martha Coakley, William Galvin, and Joe DeNucci — none of whom have any reason to hoard their war chests — hosted a third. Glodis's bash (which left the candidate severely hoarse for his convention speech the next day) was the place to find the trade-labor bigwigs — and also non-Democrat Tim Cahill, who skulked around both conventions — but the younger, hipper crowd sought out the gay-rights-advocate MassEquality party that continued to all hours, according to some haggard-looking delegates Saturday morning.

Inside the convention, Worcester County sheriff Glodis appeared to be the biggest spender. Not only was it his hometown, but he was hoping that his half-million-dollar campaign chest and year-long organizing could make up for a conservative record less appealing to delegates than his primary opponents for state auditor: former state representative and labor secretary Suzanne Bump, and progressive newcomer Mike Lake. (See "Heck of a Guy," May 28.)

In addition to the Friday-night shindig, Glodis spent more than $4000 on "convention accessories," including clothing, balloons, and glow sticks. His campaign expenditures also show more than $10,000 on signs and printing, much of which was for the convention. All this helped create a sense of substantial Glodis support inside the convention hall — though his supporters sat in their seats spinning their glow sticks, while the smaller but more energetic Lake contingent made a bigger splash by marching through the aisles for their candidate.

The big-ticket item was a slick campaign video, to air in the DCU Center before Glodis's speech, which cost $9200.

The three-and-a-half-minute video — which can be seen at guyglodis.com — was a hit, but the campaign spending was criticized by his rivals and some party veterans after Glodis finished a surprisingly weak second place in the delegate count. So much for the power of the purse to buy results.

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