Political Lay of the Land: 2014 Primary and General Elections

2014 Dates to Vote

Shifting political landscapes impact business on a national and local scale

Michelle Abdow, President

The weather will not be the only thing heating up this summer as we head toward the Primary Election on September 9th and also the General Election on November 4th. The shifting political landscape will have big implications on business nationally and here on a local level. With regards to marketing, election season dramatically increases demand on advertising inventory.

For example, an estimate of fourth quarter political market spending is approximately $2.5 to 3 million (based on previous political races and ballot questions). The past should give us a clear indication as to the impact this election will have on advertising budgets and campaigns. It bears repeating last year’s advice for media buying in a campaign year: plan early and book early!

Moreover, Market Mentors has the pleasure of working with many local business leaders and influential members of our communities. Forthcoming elections will impact business in our region — from Federal, State and County offices to referendums, issues and other ballot questions, what will you be seeing and hearing about that will impact your business?

Federal Offices:

  • United States Senator
  • United States Representative (2 in our DMA)*

*Both Congressional seats within DMA are newly established due to re-districting

State Offices:

  • Governor/Lt. Governor
  • Governor’s Council (all 8 districts)
  • State Senator (all 40 districts)
  • State Representative (all 160 districts)
  • Secretary of the Commonwealth
  • Attorney General
  • Treasurer
  • Auditor

County Offices:

  • Counties in Massachusetts will elect county commissioners, district attorneys and sheriffs.

Noteworthy Elections

Market Mentors has the honor of representing two candidates as we move toward the Primary Election.  Anthony D. Gulluni, candidate for Hampden County District Attorney and Eric Lesser, who is running for state Senator in the First Hampden and Hampshire District.

Hampden County District Attorney

GulluniA note of importance about the District Attorney election is that there are four Democratic candidates who remain unchallenged by Republicans or Independents. This means that whomever wins the primary election for DA will be the District Attorney Elect.

Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni, a life-long Springfield resident, is committed to the mission of community safety through crime prevention solutions and the swift and aggressive prosecution of repeat and violent offenders. Having worked under District Attorneys Bennett and Mastroianni as Assistant District Attorney, Gulluni has tried well over 100 cases in the district and superior courts. Prior to joining the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office, Gulluni was an assistant city solicitor for the City of Springfield and a youth program counselor and coordinator for The Salvation Army. He earned a bachelor’s degree and Juris doctorate from Western New England University. Gulluni is active in his community and continues to support The Salvation Army by serving on its advisory board. For more information about Anthony Gulluni, visit GulluniForDA.com.

State Senate: First Hampden and Hampshire District

LesserEric Lesser, a former White House aide, is running for State Senate in the First Hampden and Hampshire District. Lesser was born and raised in western Massachusetts, a graduate of Longmeadow High School, who continued his education studying government at Harvard where he returned for his law degree. With years of political experience, serving President Obama including a position on the esteemed Council of Economic Advisors, Lesser is campaigning to strengthen western Massachusetts’ voice on Beacon Hill. Lesser is a proud Democrat, but vows to work with everyone – Republicans, Democrats and Independents to bring fresh thinking to the challenges we face. For more information about Eric Lesser, visit EricLesser.com.


Although there are no gubernatorial regulations for the seat of Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick publically announced that he will not seek re-election after his current term. The filing deadline for Major Parties as well as Third Parties and Independents has passed, therefore the candidates campaigning for Governor include:

  • Don Berwick (D) Ex-US Medicare/Medicaid Administrator & Physician
  • Martha Coakley (D) Attorney General, Ex-Middlesex County District Attorney & ’10 US Sen. Nominee
  • Steve Grossman (D) State Treasurer, Ex-Democratic National Chairman, Businessman & ’02 Candidate
  • Charlie Baker (R) Venture Capitalist, Ex-Health Care Executive, Ex-State Budget Director & ’10 Nominee
  • Mark Fisher (R) Metal Manufacturer & Tea Party Activist
  • Evan Falchuck (UI) Attorney & Businessman
  • Scott Lively (I) Minister, Attorney, Ex-Republican & Anti-Gay Activist
  • Jeff McCormick (I) Venture Capitalist

Attorney General

The seat of Massachusetts Attorney General may become vacant if the current Attorney General, Martha Coakley, succeeds in her bid for Governor. Candidates campaigning for Attorney General include:

  • Maura Healey (D) ExAttorney General’s Office Civil Rights Bureau Chief
  • Warren Tolman (D) Ex-State Sen., Ex-State Rep., Attorney, ’02 Gov. Candidate & ’98 Lt. Gov. Candidate
  • John Miller (R) Attorney & Civil Engineer

Ballot Questions

There are four ballot questions of particular importance that voters may be considering. Get ready to hear and see it from all sides!  Want to place a wager on which question will produce the most advertising?

Question 1 aims to overturn a law passed by Beacon Hill legislators last year that indexes the gasoline tax to the Consumer Price Index. According to the summary, the gas tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, will (1) be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the preceding year, but (2) not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon. Advocates for the elimination of this requirement say that it allows automatic tax hikes without legislative votes, effectively outsourcing the legislative authority to levy taxes to the CPI. Vote yes to eliminate this law, vote no to make no change regarding the gas tax.

Question 2 will expand the bottle bill, adding bottle deposits to all non-alcoholic non-carbonated drinks in liquid form intended for human consumption, i.e., water bottles. It will not extend to juice boxes or pouches, or dairy products, infant formula, for FDA approved medicines. The deposit would also be subject to change every five years and pegged to the CPI, just like the gasoline tax addressed in Question 1.

Deposits not collected, due to widespread municipal recycling programs, in Massachusetts will be kept entirely by the state. With the passage of the bill, those unclaimed deposits will go to create a new state Clean Environment Fund to support programs such as proper management of solid waste, water resource protection, parkland, urban forestry, air quality, and climate protection. In 2011 Massachusetts received $35.5 million in unclaimed bottle deposits.

Opponents of the bill charge that the expansion is a thinly veiled tax hike and puts undue pressure on beverage manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Supporters say water bottles are the beverage containers most often found in the trash, since there is no incentive to turn them in for deposits.

Question 3 puts the control of casinos in Massachusetts back into the hands of voters. The question, if passed, will prohibit all licenses for casinos, table games, slot machines, and betting on simulcast greyhound races – even those licenses already awarded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission – effectively turning back the clock on the casino initiative and making those types of gambling illegal. The citizen initiative poses a challenge to communities, such as Springfield and Plainville, which voted to accept casino proposals and counts on revenue from those enterprises already under construction.

Finally, Question 4 would require employers in Massachusetts to allow employees to earn and use up to 40 hours of sick time annually. The provision would apply to both public and private companies, and also indicates the accrual rate for the sick days, carry over from year to year, prohibits employer retaliation. Employer benefits more generous would not be required to lower their standards under this law, but it would provide a basis for all Massachusetts workers to earn sick time.

Our bet is that we will hear question 3 the most!  (Sorry, we could not refuse)