BOSTON (CBS) – Campaigns raise questions. Elections provide answers. Here are some of the key questions as in-person voting begins in the Massachusetts primary Tuesday:
• Will the pandemic deter people from going to the polls? It didn’t seem to in Wisconsin back in April, where turnout for the presidential primary and a high-profile judicial race exceeded the 2012 primary showing. Same deal in Georgia in June, where ridiculously-long lines didn’t dissuade huge numbers of voters. A record number of Massachusetts voters went the mail-in route, but the day-of turnout could still be decisive.
• Will Joe Kennedy get the big margins he needs out of the so-called Gateway cities, with polls showing blue collar voters of color prefer him to Ed Markey?
• Or will the whiter, more affluent suburbs have their way, as they so often do in Massachusetts politics? What would it say about the true nature of the racial divide here if the Senate primary results even came close to matching the 62-38% landslide rejection of a modest increase in charter school seats for urban kids?
• Is the Deval Patrick machine, the potent grassroots organization that routed the establishment in the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary, still functioning? If so, good news for the Markey campaign, expertly managed by former Patrick campaign guru John Walsh, and great news for Jesse Mermell, the former Patrick press secretary who is running for Kennedy’s vacated House seat.
• Markey boosters claim his heavily-touted endorsement by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has worked wonders. Will that same alleged magic help Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse throw a scare into House Ways and Means Chairman Richie Neal out west?
• Are voters in Seth Moulton’s North Shore district still ticked off over his two unsuccessful attempts to oust Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and his failed vanity campaign for president? By all accounts a chastened Moulton has actually been focusing on his job since that ignominious flop, so he should be ok for re-nomination, but a strong showing by his challengers would be a sign of vulnerability.
• According to the secretary of state’s office, this will be the highest primary turnout since 1990, a year of anti-establishment backlash in state politics, within the Democratic party with the gubernatorial nomination of John Silber and in the general election with the ouster of numerous incumbents. When the votes are in Tuesday night (or Wednesday), will 2020 instead be a reaffirmation of the status quo?
• Join us for much more on these and other questions plus, hopefully, some answers on CBSN Boston at 8 p.m., TV38 at 10, and WBZ-TV News at 11, plus cut-ins when news breaks. You can also find town-by-town breakdowns of election results on CBSBoston.com after 8 p.m.