If you like Buddy (as in Cianci), you’ll love me.
That’s the perfect bumper sticker for the GOP nominee for the state Senate for the Cape and Islands. Ronald R. Beaty Jr. handily won last week’s two-person primary race, convincing Republican voters that he is a new man since the 16-month sentence he got back in 1991 for making death threats against President George H.W. Bush, US Senator Ted Kennedy, and (go figure) state Senator Lois Pines. He also had mailed threats to his then-wife.
But Beaty is not shy about talking about that dark period in his life when he ended up in a federal prison in Texas.
“I was going through a bad period,’’ Beaty said, referring to his drinking and the bitter divorce with his Iranian-born wife. “Yes, it happened, but it doesn’t define me as a person,” he said.
“It may look like a nut job, but I dusted myself off,’’ said Beaty, citing his new life, which includes sobriety, a new wife, and his status as a Boston College “double eagle”— holder of both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He is now a real estate manager, and has very conservative views on immigration and host of other hot-button issues. He will be taking on two-term Senator Dan Wolf of Harwich, one of the most liberal members of the Senate.
And he is quick to note that his legal problems are not new to political candidates. “Look at Buddy Cianci. He did a lot more than I did, and they say he’s going win,’’ he said, pointing to the controversial ex-Providence mayor who was jailed and now running to get his old job back.
For Cambodian-Americans, a milestone
At least since the 1970s, Lowell Democrats have sent a succession of hyphenated Americans to the State House from the 18th Middlesex Legislative District, including Irish-Americans (Kevin Murphy, Susan Rourke, Tim Rourke, Phil Shea) and a Greek-American (Steve Panagiotakos).
The Democrats of the Highlands neighborhood in Lowell on Sept. 9 continued that tradition, this time nominating Rady Mom, a Cambodian-American, for state representative. Mom, 45, bested three others on the ballot, including Jim Leary and Brian Donovan, and a fellow Cambodian-American, Paul Ratha Yem, who ran a write-in campaign.
Mom faces off in the Nov. 4 general election against Fred Bahou, an independent candidate and Greater Lowell Technical High School committee member. For those keeping score, Bahou is Lebanese-American.
If elected, Mom would be one of the first Southeast Asians, if not the first, elected to a state legislature in the country. His is an inspiring story: Born in a Khmer Rouge camp in Cambodia, he emigrated with his family first to Duluth, Minn., then to Lowell, home to the second-largest Cambodian-American community in the country (after Long Beach, Calif.). His hero is his late father, Chhann, who managed to get his four children safely out of the killing fields to the same country — to the same city — where Irish and Greeks in earlier times also got a new start.
The 18th Middlesex District is home to tens of thousands of Cambodian-Americans (some estimates say more than 30,000), plus Brazilians, Somalis, and Sri Lankans, helping to make Lowell, a city of about 106,000, home to one of the largest immigrant communities in the state.
Strange bedfellows, 21st-century edition
Viewers of the seven-part PBS documentary “The Roosevelts” could be forgiven a spit-take Sunday night after seeing Bank of America listed as a sponsor of the series. After all, FDR famously said of his myriad enemies, many of them bankers: “I welcome their hatred.”
Attendees of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s golf tournament might have similarly raised their eyebrows Monday when checking out the event’s program, which listed the city’s largest construction company as one of its sponsors. Suffolk Construction, according to a Globe article earlier this year, cut ties with a top executive who had gotten on the mayor’s bad side.
The firm has much at stake as Walsh redraws municipal development policies, not to mention the city’s bid for the Olympics, which Suffolk CEO John Fish is leading. And the tournament, a continuation from the Menino era, raises money for a good cause: the city’s scholarship funds for young Bostonians going on to post-secondary education.
As the Roosevelts and BofA could explain, sometimes history moves on.
The call of the campaign is strong
Megan Costello , who was campaign manager for Martin J. Walsh’s successful Boston mayoral effort, is temporarily leaving her position at City Hall to hit the trail.
Costello, who leads Boston’s Office of Women’s Advancement, will take the reins of the state Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign in Boston.
“I’m a campaign junkie; I’m a political junkie at heart,” Costello said with a laugh.
She said she spoke with the mayor, and he was supportive of her move. She said that getting Democrats elected statewide is important to the work they are doing in Boston.
The coordinated campaign is the party’s statewide effort to boost Democrats in races at all levels, from local contests to the gubernatorial race.
The chairman of the campaign, state Senator Ben Downing, lauded Costello’s move.
“Last year we saw Mayor Walsh build an unprecedented grass-roots campaign in Boston . . . and] Megan was at the heart of [it],” he said. “We’re thrilled to have her on board to engage voters across the city.”
While Costello said she loves her current gig, she also believes “democracy is a beautiful thing and you gotta work for it.”
She plans to come back to her City Hall post after Nov. 4.
Still, there is always another election just a few short years away.
Former Senator Whatshisname
New England might be fascinated with the New Hampshire US Senate race pitting incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen against former Republican Massachusetts senator Scott Brown. The rest of the world? Apparently not so much.
On “Jeopardy!” Monday evening, host Alex Trebek asked contestants to identify a politician he described like this: “After filling Ted Kennedy’s shoes in Massachusetts, this man decided to try out Jeanne Shaheen’s senatorial ones in New Hampshire.”
All three participants — Winston, Elizabeth, and Steve — responded with blank stares, which were quickly followed by the tell-tale “time’s up” buzzer.
“His name,” Trebek said in his trademark know-it-all tone, “is Scott Brown.”
Post-election hard truths
Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig’s new Mayday super PAC — organized to fight big money in politics — bet big on a dark-horse candidate in the US Senate primary this month and lost just as big.
When the dust settled, Lessig called the effort a mistake.
The candidate in question was Jim Rubens, one of several candidates running in the Republican primary easily won by Scott Brown.
In a frank post-election blog post, Lessig described the results like this: “We tried something that others said couldn’t be done. So far, the evidence supports their theory.”
And this: “Our first poll found our candidate with 9% of the vote. I knew we had to take on some unwinnable races — and win them. But by failing now, we have made the others harder. I should have accepted the advice not to take on that risk.”