Now that District 18 State Senator Tom DeBlois has pretty much decided to run for Ray Wieczorek’s Executive Council seat, this blog has learned that (from the usual unnamed but reliable sources) the race for that senate seat could come down to Democrat Donna Soucy, an incumbent ward 6 school board member, and Republican Will Infantine, an incumbent Ward 6 State Representative and Vice Chair of the Labor Committee.
Infantine sought to seat in 2000 and lost to Dan O’Neil.
Soucy, a former state rep and good friend of Raybo, has been successful in all her endeavors except when she ran for mayor and lost in the first round to Wieczorek and Bob Baines in 2009.
District 18 is one of the most up for grabs seats in the state. Following O’Neil, Republican Andy Martel held it for two terms, then Betsi DeVries.
I’ve done an analysis of the propensities of all 24 Senate districts and will be releasing it as soon as I update it for the proposed new districts, but since District 18 hasn’t changed at all, I can describe it now.
It’s actually my district (hey, maybe I should run), Manchester Wards 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and Litchfield. My numbers have it leaning Republican (by as much as 7.4 percent). For example, in the five closest statewide races in the past decade (five races which came out to a 50/50 split statewide), Republicans garnered 49,140 votes to 42,372 for Democrats in District 18 —thus the 7.4 percent advantage. However, by using top of the ticket analysis, the numbers in this particular district are skewed. Wards 6, 7, and 9 tend to be Democratic but unlike the rest of the state, they are blue collar Democrats, in other words more conservative. Thus, Republicans do better at the top of the ticket there than in many other places, and my numbers make it look more Republican than it actually is for local races. Ward 5 one of the most Democrats wards in the city, but turnout is low. Ward 8 is the most Republican ward in the city, but that’s not saying much. Litchfield is one of the most Republican towns in the state.
Thus, despite my numbers, I’d rate this Senate district a pure toss-up in a normal year with top of the ticket determining a winner. That’s certainly why DeVries beat Doug Kruse in 2008, and DeBlois beat DeVries in 2010.
I would have to make Soucy a favorite, albeit not a prohibitive one, should this race materialize.
Like me, Infantine tops the ticket for State Rep but has trouble winning citywide races (he’s lost twice for Alderman), and Soucy is a proven vote getter who will, as a friend of Raybo, will be able to raise a ton of money.
Soucy, a devout left wing extremist, has also always displayed an uncanny ability to portray herself as a centrist. Expect her to pull that rabbit out of the hat in any race for State Senate.
Of course, as the former $100,000 a year chief of staff for Senate President Sylvia Larsen, the $100 salary would be a big step down for Soucy.
Attendance could become a big issue in the race. Soucy often misses School Board meetings, and Infantine, although with an acceptable House attendance record, does miss quite a few votes—hey, he’s family man with a business to run, an issue Soucy will certainly try to exploit in the race.
Should Infantine decide to run, House redistricting will certainly be an issue. As Chairman of the Manchester delegation, Infantine faces to unenviable task of keeping 20 other Manchester Republicans in line to sustain a Lynch veto, a position at odds with House Speaker Bill O’Brien and Republican leadership. Should he fail to keep 18 or 20 on board, his chances of being a State Senator may well end before they even begin. One of the 20 would be Infantine's fellow ward 6 Rep Larry Gagne, Vice Chair of Criminal Justice, who when faced with either doing the right thing and voting not to steal two Representaives from Manchester or of defying "his" Speaker (with the power to remove Vice Chairs), decided to take a walk last week. Ah yes, twas hardly a profile in courage. Keep in mind, walking is not an option in the Senate, but then, bullying is probably not as intense in that body.
As to the Executive Council race, I expect a crowded Republican field—hey; maybe I should run for that…I could certainly work with Governor Ted Gatsas.
Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns has posted a press release announcing his candidacy, but I for one don’t take him seriously.
Most Republican Reps (like me) on the county executive committee have been less than satisfied with the job he’s done as Treasurer. In fact when county taxes came in in December, he should have discovered an instrument to invest $50 million with some sort of return (even if a small one), but just morning we got a statement noting that the money is just sitting there accruing virtually no interest, not a good sign.
Hey, I’m just channeling Howard Cosell again, telling it like it is.
Maybe I shouldn’t run for anything. In fact were the filing period to end today, I would not file…of course it doesn’t end today.