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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Somethin's happenin' here

If they ever wrote a fable about the 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign (heaven forbid!) it just might be called "The Tortoise and the Hare."

With Labor Day and the serious part of the race almost upon us, there is a clear change in tone and momentum, with the "tortoise," aka Deval Patrick, doing just fine while the "hare," aka Charlie Baker, is spinning his wheels like a cartoon character.

As for Tim Cahill, he's starting to more closely resemble the wolf in the Roadrunner cartoons, looking up as the Acme safe comes hurtling toward him.

Patrick's August fund-raising numbers are a clear turnaround from the campaign meme established when Baker came charging hard out of the gate last year with impressive fund-raising totals.

(Full disclosure: You won't find a check from Outraged Liberal in the Patrick campaign coffers but that doesn't mean I have not made a donation. And that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one who reads this blog.)

Despite the Baker campaign's in-your face response, the facts are pretty clear: the challenger out raised and outspent the challenger for a year, blowing the cash for now-departed staff and ideas that have failed to light a fire. One year later, the Republican State Committee is running pre-Labor Day ads still trying to introduce the candidate.

Poll movement has been infinitesimal, garnered mainly from the negative ads launched by the Republican Governors Association.

Patrick, on the other hand, has climbed out of his grave, aided by strong public performances in reassuring the public after the Times Square bomb incident and the water main break. He's off to another good start in dealing with Hurricane Earl -- declaring a state of emergency while simultaneously trying to tamp down TV hype.

Things could obviously go south during or after the storm. And the debate season begins in earnest next week, even though it is Patrick who is the skilled debater and Baker who is the plodder.

So in fairness, we could be seeing a shift to a Rocky meme, where the amiable, slow-footed lunk takes out the challenger.

I wouldn't bet on it. And the September fund-raising dollars will tell us how many people will.

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