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Capital Source

Small businesses are sometimes . . . really small

Small businesses are sometimes . . . really small

Seth Moulton’s campaign literature is replete with references to him as a businessman. “A successful entrepreneur,” one brochure calls him. And Moulton, the Democratic nominee in the North Shore-based congressional race, has tweaked Richard Tisei, his Republican opponent, as a “career politician” who “doesn’t know a lot about economic development in the private sector.” In one televised debate, Moulton pointedly told Tisei: “I’ve started a small business — I know what it’s like to face that day when you might not meet payroll.”

Well, yes, to a point. Moulton and a classmate, Sam Bakri, came up with the idea for taking a private sector approach to treating obesity within months of graduating from Harvard Business School in 2011 and quickly incorporated as Eastern Healthcare Partners. But little happened until January 2013, when Moulton, Bakri, a Marine Corps friend, and one or two others gathered for about six months in an office on the Marblehead waterfront. There, they raised investor funds, recruited a board of directors, and drafted a partnership agreement with Johns Hopkins Medicine. Their website listed offices in Marblehead, London, and Beirut. But by the summer of 2013 Moulton was running for Congress and the Marblehead office was closed and one opened in Arlington, Va.

A successful entrepreneur? Today, the company is alive but still has no revenue and its relationship with Johns Hopkins is still incubating. Payroll? A few have been paid out of investor funds. And that London office? On closer examination, the website listed a telephone with a 781 area code. A spokesman for Moulton said the candidate stands by his statements.


Sean P. MurphySEAN P. MURPHY

The Coakley-Clinton connection

By most standards, Hillary Rodham Clinton has no serious political obligations to Attorney General Martha Coakley that would compel her to come to Boston Friday to campaign for Coakley’s gubernatorial effort. Coakley may have endorsed Clinton in her 2008 presidential bid, but the timing was not the best. In fact, it came when it was least needed.


Flashback to 2008. Clinton, then the New York senator and early favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination, ran into a political tidal wave — a former community organizer from Chicago — that was derailing her candidacy during that year’s Democratic primaries. Coakley stayed on the sidelines until the end of May when it was all but decided that Barack Obama had the delegates to win the Democratic nomination. Three weeks later, Clinton dropped out of the race.

Coakley’s late decision put her in a good position for future political runs. She did not alienate the future president who had the nomination all but wrapped up. And she showed her solidarity, although very late in the game, with the female activists in the Democratic Party who were excited about electing the first female president.


A candidate Pats fans couldn’t ignore

Who is Mike Heffernan? Did you find yourself wondering that after last week’s Patriots’ game?

The Republican candidate for state treasurer had some fun with one of the latest cost-effective means of reaching voters: banner advertising on mobile apps. His campaign targeted Patriots fans who used their phones at Gillette Stadium last Thursday, after previously reaching out to commuters heading home from South Station. Expect many more such maneuvers since the MBTA doesn’t allow political ads on trains, and campaigns and marketers are always looking for the next way to reach voters who have screened out messaging using DVRs and caller IDs.


“Geofencing” allows a campaign to capture voters at selected times and to push the ads through repeatedly before Election Day — which is good or bad, depending on your tolerance for advertising.


A lousy Republican for Baker

It was an introduction like no other, which is saying something in the campaign for governor when candidates are constantly being introduced before one event or another.

“I’m here because I call myself a Republican, but I’m a lousy Republican,” said Tom Demakes , president of Old Neighborhood Foods as he presented Charlie Baker, the Republican candidate for governor of Massachusetts.

They were at the Lynn Business Partnership meeting, and Baker was to speak after Demakes’s introduction. Demakes said he was busy man, running a century-old family business with 375 employees, and doing a little match-making for his sons. So, he said, he doesn’t often step into the world of politics.

“Like any intelligent Republican or Democrat, you get awful annoyed with your own party,” Demakes said. “You get awful annoyed by the nuts on the right, and I’m sure if I was a Democrat, I’d get awful annoyed with some of the nuts on the left.”

Amid the grousing, Demakes said he supports Baker, lauding the business background of the former head of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

When he was done, Baker said, “That is easily the most unusual and unique introduction. I’ve had a lot of people introduce me in a lot of events over the course of the past year.”



His old haunt

Nearly 40 years after he left the State House, former Republican lieutenant governor Don Dwight made a return this week, along with his wife, Nancy Dwight, to see the newly refurbished governor’s chambers.

“The restoration is lovely — thank you, Governor and citizens of the Commonwealth!” Nancy Dwight wrote in a Facebook post, along with a photograph taken from the executive balcony, overlooking Boston Common.

The Dwights got a tour from two aides to Governor Deval Patrick.

“The space is quite different from Don’s days, but the welcome just as warm and sincere,” Nancy Dwight said.


Foley ad withdrawn

It’s hard to shame the makers of negative political ads, but that’s apparently what has happened in New Hampshire.

A group called Security America Now was airing an ad that targeted Democratic US Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “While radical Islamists threaten to attack America and millions cross our border undetected, President Obama and Senator Shaheen have done nothing,” the ad said.

Among the disturbing images included: footage of slain New Hampshire journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by ISIS in August.

Shaheen and her Republican opponent, Scott Brown, both denounced the advertisement as inappropriate. Foley’s parents did, too.

“It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son’s death for their own political purposes,” Foley’s mother, Diane, said.

The group initially defended the ad and its use of the Foley execution video but ultimately pulled it. “It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down,” the group said in a statement.



Life after the campaign

What happens to political candidates after they lose a race? In the case of Don Berwick, who lost to Martha Coakley in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, he has gone back to pushing his main issue, single-payer health care — even without the benefit of a political race to draw attention to it.

Berwick recently contacted former campaign supporters and asked them to attend two events sponsored by Mass-Care, an organization working toward a single-payer health care system in the state: a rally on Sunday on Boston Common and a November meeting to plot strategy for the 2015 legislative session.

Meanwhile, if Coakley becomes governor, Berwick will have another role: cochair of Coakley’s new Preparedness Council, which she intends to convene to evaluate Massachusetts’ emergency response protocols in the face of new public safety and health challenges, including Ebola. The other cochair: Juliette Kayyem, a homeland security expert who also ran for governor but did not win enough support to appear on the Democratic primary ballot.


An arrest — and a press release

Getting arrested is not the sort of thing most politicians want the public to know about, especially in the middle of a campaign. They certainly don’t trumpet the news in press releases.

Consider Danny Factor the exception that proves the rule.

Factor, the Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Massachusetts secretary of state, was arrested with other protesters this week at a demonstration against a planned housing development that involves the destruction of tress in the Silver Maple Forest in Belmont and Cambridge.

A news release from Factor’s political party describing the dispute came complete with photographs.

“Forests offset approximately 25 to 30 percent of human-caused emissions of carbon and must be left undisturbed in order to do their important work of mitigating climate change,” Factor said. “It doesn’t make sense to cut down forests and then spend money on more expensive and less reliable programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”