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Charley Murphy’s Mailer – What Was He Thinking?

My state senator, Robert Havern, resigned this summer. When people ask me why he resigned, I answer “because he can make more money as a lobbyist.” Harsh, but accurate.

Because he’s resigning midterm, current officeholders see it as a risk-free crack at a promotion. They can run for the job while keeping their current job. If they lose, no harm done, they have their current position as a fallback. It is a crowded field. I don’t have a horse in this race. I may pick someone as we go along, but at this point, I don’t have a preference.

I got a mailing this week from Charley Murphy, a Democratic state rep from Burlington. It raises eyebrows, and not in a good way.

The first face on the mailing is George Laite. George is Havern’s chief-of-staff. Havern hasn’t picked a successor that I know of. Absent Havern, George is the next best endorsement, so it makes sense that you’d want George on your side. But there’s the problem: I’m told that Laite is actually endorsing Ken Donnelly, not Murphy. Murphy’s photo reminds me of James Rappaport printing “Romney/Rappaport” bumperstickers even though Romney had chosen Healey as a running mate in the ’02 governor election. It’s pretending there is an endorsement when, in fact, the endorsement went to someone else.

The mailing has a “Working for Arlington” section. It includes bulletpoints about 40B, school building, the Mugar property, state aid, and “ensuring the Jefferson Russell House remains a historic treasure for Arlington.” I presume that he’s referring to the Jason Russell house, and I wasn’t aware that it needed protection.

The whole section leaves you feeling like Murphy’s on a multi-city rock tour and his manager told him to shout “HELLO, ARLINGTON” when he took the stage. Maybe it was even written on masking tape on the back of his guitar, sort of like Spinal Tap when it went to Springfield. I’m OK with someone saying “I’m not an expert on Arlington issues, but I’ll convince you that I can become an expert.” I’m not OK with someone pretending to be an expert when they are not.

Having run for a state office before, I can tell you with authority that mailings are the most expensive part of the campaign. I can only assume that the mailing was carefully vetted by Murphy and his campaign manager. How do you explain this mailing? Is this a lousy proof-reader, who can’t tell the difference between Jason Russell and Jefferson Russell? Or is this a carefully-crafted, smarmy and conniving attempt to link Murphy to Havern by using a picture of Laite?

Or should I not bother trying to figure this out, and find another candidate?


Comment from A. Michael Ruderman
Time: October 15, 2007, 5:53 pm

The whole “Working for Arlington” section ‘reads clumsy’, as an editor once told me.

The _Jason_ Russell House, privately owned by the Arlington Historical Society, needs expensive repairs to stay standing; is Charley talking about getting a special grant out of the Legislature?

I’m presuming his pledge to “advocate for school building assistance for the remaining two elementary schools” means the two (of seven) schools remaining to be renovated; but with the MA School Building Authority being tighter-lipped than the Sphinx in divulging its budget and timetable, what is it Charley proposes to do?

“Charley has fought to increase state aid in his district by over 90%”; so, did he succeed, and by how much, or did he just fight for it?

Best for last: the typo in the second line of the fourth bullet point is a real howler.

Comment from dunster
Time: October 15, 2007, 11:06 pm

I hadn’t even noticed that fourth-bullet typo. That is a riot.

Pingback from Dan Dunn’s Podium » More on the Charley Murphy Mailing
Time: October 16, 2007, 11:42 pm

[…] Sunday night I posted about a couple of the sketchy aspects of the Charley Murphy mailing. It turns out I only knew half of it. […]