N.H. Dems sort of back Biden
GRANITE STATE OF MIND — Democrats are falling in line behind President Joe Biden’s reelection bid … even in New Hampshire … kinda.
Leading New Hampshire Democrats had some choice words — betrayal, poison pill, a plan of political convenience among them — when Biden moved to strip the state of its prized first-in-the-nation primary status. They spent months railing publicly and privately against the president and the Democratic National Committee, which backed up Biden’s plan.
And they’re on track to blow the DNC’s June deadline to change the law that requires New Hampshire to hold its presidential primary a week before any other state, because Republicans who control the Legislature and governor’s office won’t do it.
If New Hampshire goes rogue and goes first, that puts Biden in an awkward spot. He could break the rules and be on the ballot there. Or he would have to skip the state he carried by 8 points in the 2020 general election, despite finishing fifth in its Democratic primary.
“What I’ve said to the president twice directly now is I think he should come. I think he should be on the ballot in New Hampshire. He’ll win handily,” Rep. Annie Kuster told Playbook on Tuesday. Even if Biden isn’t on the ballot, Kuster said he’d “probably … win on a write-in.”
A Biden campaign aide said the president and his team would abide by any DNC sanctions against candidates who break the rules, but didn’t clarify whether that means they would campaign in New Hampshire or not.
Biden’s absence in the Granite State could jeopardize Democrats in down-ballot races, Kuster said. While neither of the state’s U.S. senators are up for reelection next year, Democrats are preparing to again defend Kuster and Rep. Chris Pappas’ seats. Republicans’ congressional campaign arm is already targeting Pappas’ seat as a potential pickup.
Kuster is backing Biden for a second term. So are Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan. “Over the last two years under the Biden administration, we’ve seen our economy continue to grow and have seen record job growth — and now we face the threat of Donald Trump on the ballot,” Hassan said in a statement to Playbook. “We must elect Democrats in 2024.”
But the state Democratic Party appears to be giving Biden the silent treatment. Even in Iowa, which is also getting pushed down the Democratic nominating lineup, the state party tweeted a “Let’s #FinishTheJob.” But New Hampshire’s issued no statement, not even a retweet. When reached by Playbook, a party spokesperson said Chair Ray Buckley was too tied up to chat.
Pappas also didn’t post anything online, nor did his aides respond to requests for comment. And the state’s largest public employee union said it wouldn’t endorse Biden “at this time.”
Still, Jim Demers, a longtime Democratic strategist who endorsed Biden in 2020 after Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) dropped out, believes the holdouts will “recognize the importance of reelecting President Biden.”
GOOD WEDNESDAY MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Speaking of Democrats running for reelection, all nine of the Bay State’s U.S. House members plan to give it another go in 2024.
Sorry to anyone hoping for an open congressional seat. House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark and Reps. Richard Neal, Jim McGovern, Lori Trahan, Jake Auchincloss, Seth Moulton, Ayanna Pressley, Stephen Lynch and Bill Keating are all either planning to or have already filed to run for reelection, spokespeople for all nine confirmed to Playbook.
Those plans could change. The state primary is still some 16 months away. But Democrats’ optimism about winning back the House seems to be motivating members to stick around.
Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is already off and running again. And my colleague Jessica Piper crunched the numbers on her post-launch fundraising bump.
Warren was raising an average of about $2,500 per day from itemized donors (those who give more than $200) in the first quarter prior to her launch. In the five days between her launch and the end of the quarter, that number jumped up to about $38,000 per day.
TODAY — Gov. Maura Healey meets with Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce members at 11 a.m. at the State House. Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll attend the Denim Day Event at 3 p.m. and reveal which former governor’s portrait will hang in the corner office at 3:15 p.m. Driscoll chairs a Governor’s Council meeting at noon. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu speaks at BPHC’s Advancing Health Equity in Boston conference at 9:15 a.m. at BPL and celebrates a school renaming in honor of Mel King at 10 a.m. in the South End.
Hassan and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) hold a subcommittee hearing on the Boston Marathon bombing’s impacts on emergency preparedness and homeland security at 10:30 a.m.
Tips? Scoops? Running for reelection? Email me: [email protected].
THE RACE FOR CITY HALL
— UP TO THE CHALLENGE: Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros is drawing a challenger in his reelection bid.
Erin Joyce, a past planning board chair, PTO co-president and civil-engineering consultant, is launching her campaign against Kokoros with a call for “decisive leadership, a fiscally responsible commitment to taxpayers, and a dedicated focus on our families in the Braintree schools,” according to a statement shared with Playbook.
Kokoros, who was first elected mayor in 2019, is holding a kick-off fundraiser for his reelection campaign on Thursday.
Another mayor’s race is taking shape in Medford, where Richard “Rick” Caraviello, a city councilor and past president of the legislative body, launched his bid for the top job yesterday. Second-term Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn didn’t immediately respond about whether she’s seeking reelection.
— “Westfield Mayor Michael McCabe will kick off reelection campaign next week,” by Amy Porter, Westfield News.
DATELINE BEACON HILL
— BUDGET DEBATE UPDATE: “House approves previously stalled legal fund for children and families,” by Chris Van Buskirk, MassLive: “Legislators voted 157-1 to approve the amendment, which creates the Children and Family Legal Representation Fund administered by the Committee for Public Counsel Services, a group that provides legal representation to those unable to afford an attorney. … Another $50,000 was set aside for the University of Massachusetts School of Law to provide direct legal assistance in the area of tenants’ rights.”
— “Ed board weighs easing teacher hiring policies,” by Christian M. Wade, Eagle-Tribune: “State education leaders are mulling over a plan to grant provisional licenses to certain teachers, along with other policy changes aimed at helping public school districts address a chronic shortage of educators.”
FROM THE HUB
— ENDORSEMENT CORNER: Sen. Ed Markey is backing John Moran for 9th Suffolk state representative.
— The National Association of Social Workers — Massachusetts Chapter PACE committee has endorsed Robert Orthman for 10th Suffolk state representative.
— “This prolific Globe commenter brutally mocks city councilors — and also seems to work with them,” by Emma Platoff, Boston Globe: “Under the screen name ‘Interested Party,’ a person or people using a subscription account shared by city councilors and their staff has commented prolifically on Globe stories for more than a year, attacking nearly every member of the council, along with Mayor Michelle Wu and her staff, in posts that range from ridiculous and snarky to offensive and borderline threatening.”
— “Boston firefighters union files for state intervention in contract negotiations,” by Sean Cotter, Boston Globe: “The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 718, as the union is formally called, on Friday filed paperwork to initiate the first step of what can lead to arbitration with the state Joint Labor-Management Committee, joining the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association in claiming negotiations with the city have ground to a standstill.”
— “Watchdog report questions Boston’s ability to sustain ARPA-funded projects,” by Gayla Cawley, Boston Herald: “A municipal watchdog report found the city is on track to spend the entirety of its $558.7 million use-or-lose ARPA funds by the 2026 deadline, but raised concerns about Boston’s ability to sustain certain projects after the federal cash is gone.”
— “Should Boston have its own rat czar? City Councilor Ed Flynn thinks so,” by Danny McDonald, Boston Globe.
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES
— “Pension costs could make the MBTA ‘insolvent’ by 2038, document shows,” by Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez, WBUR: “Officials at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority have long wanted to raise the retirement age for workers from 55 to 65, to shore up the transit system’s ailing pension fund. But they recently decided not to do that — both because the union fought the measure and because the T is in recruiting mode, desperate to hire 2,800 workers to meet current staffing needs. … In an arbitration document obtained by WBUR, the T’s financial chief, Mary Ann O’Hara, said that on the current trajectory, expenses for the $1.6 billion pension fund could ‘cause the MBTA to be insolvent’ by 2038.”
— “John Kerry faces heat from House Oversight Committee chair,” by Joe Dwinell, Boston Herald: “The House Oversight Committee is attempting to siphon details of the inner workings of John Kerry’s super-secret Climate office in a move being hailed by one watchdog.”
— “Mass. congressional delegation calls on U.S. to help citizens stuck in Sudan,” by Chris Van Buskirk, MassLive.
FROM THE 413
— “Child care costs about the same in Western Mass., but the subsidies are much smaller,” by Samantha J. Gross, Boston Globe: “The squeeze on the child care industry is a statewide problem, but the challenges are even more acute for [Sheneya] Johnson and others in Western Massachusetts, where the current state formula provides for a much smaller subsidy than it does in Eastern Massachusetts, even though the cost of providing the care is relatively similar in both places. … Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler said in an interview that the state values the work providers do in Western Massachusetts, and that the new data ‘should land us in a better place’ in terms of parity as the department sets new subsidy rates moving forward.”
— “Easthampton School Committee again rejects superintendent candidate who wrote ‘ladies,’ district will likely have interim superintendent,” by Rick Sobey, Boston Herald: “The Easthampton School Committee has again rejected the district’s top pick for superintendent who wrote ‘ladies’ in an email, as the school board moved toward hiring an interim superintendent following a disaster of a search process.”
— “Antiracist think tank emerges in Northampton,” by Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine.
THE LOCAL ANGLE
— “State discusses updates in Lawrence Public Schools receivership,” by Adria Watson, Boston Globe: “State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said on Tuesday that he hopes having Lawrence’s state legislative delegation recommend new leadership in Lawrence Public Schools could be the ‘the final step’ in the district returning to local control after more than a decade under state receivership.”
— “Cyber attack on Lowell City Hall’s network,” by Melanie Gilbert, Lowell Sun.
— “Former Harvard research scientist Charles Lieber faces sentencing for lying about China ties,” by Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe.
— IN MEMORIAM: “Mike Pride, Concord Monitor editor who mentored Pulitzer winners, dies at 76,” by Bryan Marquard, Boston Globe.
HEARD ‘ROUND THE BUBBLAH
TRANSITIONS — Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been named to dual fellowships at Harvard.
— Chloe Gotsis is now administration and communications director for DCR. She previously was press secretary at the attorney general’s office.
— Jessica Hatcher is now a director at Invariant. She previously was legislative director for Rep. Jake Auchincloss.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY — to former Rep. Niki Tsongas, Hyphenated Strategies’ Katie Prisco-Buxbaum, AKPD Message and Media’s Larry Grisolano, Ronald Leibowitz and Nathalie Sczublewski.
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