ICYMI: 170K Blank Ballots Demonstrate Gonzalez's Enthusiasm Gap

BOSTON -- Nearly 170,000 Democratic primary voters walked into the polls last Tuesday and opted to not vote in a competitive gubernatorial election, demonstrating a big enthusiasm problem for candidate Jay Gonzalez, according to a report in today's Boston Herald. The report confirms that many Democrats are down on their own party's candidates, looking forward to backing Governor Baker this fall:

"...Skip Marcella said he’s a registered Democrat but will likely vote for Baker in November.

"But three years and eight months into Baker’s term, 'I have been pleasantly surprised with Charlie and his ability to work across the aisle,' Marcella said, noting he likes Baker’s cooperative relationship with Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, a Democrat.

"As for Tuesday’s Democratic primary ballot: Marcella said neither Gonzalez or Massie will earn his vote. He’ll leave the gubernatorial line blank." -The Boston Globe


Blank votes in primary reveal Democratic discontent
By Joe Battenfeld

Nearly one quarter of Democratic primary voters blanked their gubernatorial ballots rather than vote for either of the two candidates — a stunning show of discontent that could hurt the party’s chances in November.

Final primary results provided by the Secretary of State’s Office to the Herald show that a total of 169,509 Democratic voters decided to leave the governor’s race blank.

It’s possible that many of those voters who blanked the race support Gov. Charlie Baker, but couldn’t vote for him because they took a Democratic ballot.

The blanks account for 23.5 percent of the 721,089 ballots cast in the Democratic primary. Another 10,742 Democratic voters — 1 percent of all the ballots cast — wrote in other names on the ballot.

Democrat Jay Gonzalez, a former state budget chief with the Deval Patrick administration, won the gubernatorial primary with 348,434 votes, with Bob Massie coming a distant second with 192,404 votes.

Counting just the number of ballots cast for the two candidates, Gonzalez won with 66 percent of the vote, what appears to be an impressive victory.

But if you count the blanks and write-in votes it looks less impressive. Gonzalez actually just got 48 percent of the total vote, with Massie getting 27 percent and blanks finishing in a solid third place with 24 percent.

On the Republican side, just 7,686 voters blanked the ballot, accounting for about 2 percent of the 280,697 ballots cast. Another 464 voters wrote in other names.
Baker needs to draw a high number of Democratic and Independent votes to win in this heavily blue state, and the primary results show that many Democrats are dissatisfied, possibly enough to abandon their party in November.

If most of the people who blanked the Democratic primary ballot end up voting for Baker in the general, that gives him a solid base of support from the other party.

The question is whether it will be enough to carry him to victory.