My family and I spent a couple hours with Mike Connolly (@nomoneyconnolly) and his fiance, Kacy, talking to Cambridge voters yesterday. Connolly is running for State Representative in a district that straddles Cambridge and Somerville. He’s a “progressive independent,” challenging an incumbent Democrat, Tim Toomey (who simultaneously sits on the Cambridge City Council, making him one of the highest paid government officials in MA, yet with one of the worst voting attendance records in MA).
Toomey has opposed “Clean Elections” in Massachusetts. The signal issue for Connolly is clean elections. He is taking no money to fund his campaign — and asking people to symbolically donate $0.00 to him on his website. He would be an incredible fresh voice to shake up an effectively one party state — around the issue many of us have been pushing.
But what was most striking about walking with “No Money Mike” was how many already knew him, and the excitement they could barely contain. Connolly’s yard signs are everywhere. And though radically underfunded, his message seems known. He stopped one 20-something woman to give her a brochure, and she said, “Wait, you’re Mike Connolly?” Then with the excitement of a teen meeting a superstar, she gave him a high five, and turned to her friend, “This is Mike Connolly, the guy I was telling you about.” And after a couple minutes of talking, she grabbed a pile of brochures and promised to spread them broadly.
It struck me then that this is all it takes. Not the candidate, and not the campaign: Of course it takes that too, but that’s too often not enough. Beyond that, it takes this sort of excitement by people who know of the campaign, with something we on the Left don’t do as well as people on the Right: carry-through. If that woman actually carries through, and gives that literature to her friends, and if they, and others like them spread the word and turn out, this could be an important surprise for MA, and revitalize a campaign in MA — for Clean Money — that should have been resolved long ago.
We who care about this issue have few races this cycle where we can make a stand. The issue has been invisible at the Federal level. Too many in MA wish it would be forgotten locally too. But here is one place where a victory would be unambiguously a victory for the idea that this corrupt system must change.
If you believe in this cause, do something to help it here. The idea of beating a 20 year incumbent Democrat circa Cambridge is, let’s say, difficult. But six thousand votes would win. The district has plenty of students. If you have friends there (the 26th), share with them the substance of this fight (Mike’s site; Toomey’s site), and give them a sense of its importance.