According to Nilsson, Mass Alliance, the state-wide progressive electoral coalition, split in two recent special elections on February 7th. In Gardner, liberal Democrat Robert Rice defeated conservative Republican Jonathan Dennehy by 700 votes. In Foxboro, progressive Democrat Claire Naughton lost to Republican Ginny Coppola, widow of former Representative Michael Coppola, by 500 votes.
Mass Alliance members, including Boston Democratic Socialists of America, devoted significant fundraising, membership communication, field assistance, and direct mail resources to the Naughton campaign, but it proved too difficult to elect a progressive in such a conservative district, especially "with us having to go against the sympathy factor".
DSA "on the ground" support
- Our plans for 2006 include projects voted as priorities by DSA’s recent National Convention, especially focusing on the low-wage economy (i.e., Wal-Mart, healthcare). And we’ll maintain our involvement with the Alliance—currently we’re working on the State Rep. races of Claire Naughton in Foxboro and (again on our own) Denise Provost in Somerville.
Mass Alliance endorsement
In 2006, several candidates for the Massachusetts legislature were endorsed by Mass Alliance, a coalition of unions, civil rights, environmental and community groups, including Boston Democratic Socialists of America. "These campaigns are priorities for the September 19 Democratic primary;"
These included Claire Naughton (Democrat) Open Seat, 1st Bristol.
- As a former schoolteacher, Claire values education, and thus one of her top priorities is improving education. To this end, she seeks to secure resources to ensure that children learn in small classes from qualified teachers. Healthcare is another one of Claire’s priorities; she thinks that every citizen deserves affordable, accessible medical treatment. Furthermore, it is important to Claire to increase local aid to better fund our police and fire departments, schools, and other local services. Finally, Claire is a supporter of individual rights—she supports a woman’s right to choose and the expansion of marriage rights..
2006 Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards
On September 24, 2006, Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award to "our longtime comrade, Director of Massachusetts Neighbor to Neighbor Harris Gruman". Hosted by former Neighbor to Neighbor Director John Maher and Co-Chaired by Senator Pat Jehlen and MA AFL-CIO Vice President Ed Collins, the event was also a fundraiser for both Boston DSA and the Mass Alliance Some Alliance endorsed candidates were among the attendees, including Denise Provost, Jarrett Barrios, Willie Mae Allen, Claire Naughton and Will Brownsberger. Political Director Georgia Hollister Isman explained how the Mass Alliance helps elect progressives to the MA legislature, and introduced some of the candidates.
- Pat Jehlen and John Mayer noted how Harris combines the skills and abilities of an ace precinct captain and shrewd political strategist with a vast knowledge of the more obscure Austria, Italy, which undoubtably comes in handy on the campaign trail.