After President Joe Biden, the most powerful Democrat in Washington is Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker. She is charged with marshaling Democratic forces in the House to help carry out Biden’s national and international agenda.
So what is she doing coming to Massachusetts today to campaign for a Democratic House member who was elected just last year in a reliably Democratic state?
Well, lots of things, some perhaps more apparent than others.
Pelosi can, in fact, accomplish multiple goals in her time in the 4th District which includes all the communities in The Sun Chronicle coverage area.
She will be boosting U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss, 33, in his bid for re-election next year at an event that seems designed specifically for Pelosi’s presence.
Auchincloss handily beat Republican Julie Hall of Attleboro in 2020 with 60.8 percent of the vote. It remains to be seen how much opposition he will get from either Republicans or Democrats in 2022.
Pelosi is speaking at a breakfast in Newton as a “special guest” at a fundraiser for a political action committee created by Auchincloss, according to a news report from WPRI 12 News by Ted Nesi. The Sun Chronicle also reported the story prominently.
The event will be outdoors, by invitation only and for contributors who have been fully vaccinated. It will benefit Auchincloss’s “MA 4 Dems PAC” which will be supporting selected Democratic candidates. Contributions are being sought from $100 to $1,000.
In coming to Newton Pelosi can, first, reward Auchincloss for speaking out in support of President Biden setting and sticking to an Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan, ending the 20-year war.
Biden drew widespread criticism for the manner and timetable of the withdrawal. Important to Pelosi is that one of those critics was another Massachusetts Democratic congressman, Seth Moulton of Salem.
Moulton not only went against the Democratic administration on Afghanistan, he had challenged Pelosi in her effort to retain the speakership in 2018, which she is now generally expected to give up in 2022 when she’ll be 82. That’s hardly something Pelosi would forget and forgive even after Moulton tested the waters for a run in the Democratic presidential primary in 2020.
Moulton was an upstart in 2018, having been first elected to the House only in 2014. He will be 43 this year.
For the purposes of Pelosi’s Sept. 9 visit to Massachusetts it was convenient that Auchincloss is a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan. Moulton is a Marine veteran who served four tours in Iraq. (Both former officers went to Harvard and officer candidate school.)
There are a couple more things that at least some of those attending the Auchincloss event will be keeping in mind.
One question is whether former 4th District Rep. Joe Kennedy III will be running for office or perhaps tak e a post in the Biden administration.
After serving as a House member from 2013 to 2021, Kennedy decided not to seek re-election and instead challenged incumbent Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey in the Democratic primary in 2020. Markey won, opening the door for Auchincloss to win the House seat.
Yet another question is what’s up with Republican Scott Brown. Brown, you may recall, was a little-known state senator from Wrentham who won a special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts in the Tea Party days of 2009. He defeated Martha Coakley who was the state’s attorney general.
The victory was earthshaking for Democrats, not least because it gave Republicans 41 seats in the Senate, enough to sustain a filibuster and block major Democratic health care legislation, which had been the goal of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy. That was the seat Brown ended up filling.
Brown served one term, being ousted by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren who had been a major Democratic candidate for president before yielding to, yes, Joe Biden.
Let me take this way-back machine to one more planet. Brown, formerly President Trump’s ambassador to New Zealand, is now a resident of New Hampshire. He appears unlikely to move back to Massachusetts because his wife, former newscaster Gail Huff, just a week ago let it be known she is considering running for the House seat in New Hampshire held by Democrat U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas.
What is it about Massachusetts politics that makes it go national?