BOSTON -- Senate Democrats' embattled leader stepped aside on Monday, they lost a seat in a special election on Tuesday, and a corrupt former colleague was indicted today. There's no way around it: this week couldn't have been any worse for Massachusetts Senate Democrats:
Monday: Embattled And Defeated, Rosenberg Steps Aside
Allegations of abuse of power and sexual misconduct by his husband forced Senate President Rosenberg to give up his gavel.
"The Massachusetts Senate, in the grip of its worst leadership crisis in memory, on Monday temporarily replaced its embattled president, Stanley C. Rosenberg, and set in motion a Senate investigation stemming from allegations that his husband sexually assaulted or harassed four men." (Josh Miller, "Rosenberg to step aside during investigation," The Boston Globe
The move was bad news not only for Rosenberg, but also for his loyalists who had stood by him just hours before.
"...E) Chang-Diaz, Lewis, and Barrett sure look bad right about now for explicitly backing Stan remaining as president through the investigation..." (David S. Bernstein, Tweet, 12/4/17)
Tuesday: Democrats Lose A Seat As GOP Flips Worcester & Middlesex
Republican Dean Tran scored a win in the northern Worcester County seat.
"Fitchburg City Councilor Dean Tran on Tuesday won the north central Massachusetts Senate seat vacated earlier this year by Jennifer Flanagan, helping Republicans to a rare feat by flipping a Senate seat that had been held by Democrats." (Michael Norton, "Republicans Snag Mass. Senate Seat As Voters Elect Fitchburg City Councilor Tran," State House News Service, 12/6/17)
The Rosenberg scandal was just the latest incident pushing voters away from Democrats.
"Surely some voters in Fitchburg, Leominster and surrounding communities who went to the polls in a special election Tuesday had the latest Beacon Hill scandal on their minds when they decided to flip a Democratic seat to a Republican, Dean Tran. Well, that and a slew of other issues that have not reflected well on Democratic leadership on Beacon Hill of late — the massive pay raise lawmakers voted for themselves to begin this session, for starters..." (Editorial Board, "Bright spot for Mass. GOP," Boston Herald, 12/7/17)
Friday: Feds Arrest And Indict Former "Government Improvement" Panel Chair Joyce
Ex-Senator Brian Joyce (D) was indicted by federal authorities on a wide range of corruption charges.
"Former state senator Brian A. Joyce was charged in a federal indictmentFriday with using his Senate office as a front to collect about $1 million in bribes and kickbacks that were laundered through his law firm, along with getting hundreds of pounds of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for free." (Andrea Estes, Milton J. Valencia and John R. Ellement, "Former state senator Brian Joyce indicted on federal charges," The Boston Globe, 12/8/17)
It's another black mark for Rosenberg, who had stood by the man he named to chair a special committee on improving government.
"A month after relinquishing two posts while cooperating with an ethics probe into allegations that he improperly used his public office to benefit his legal clients, Sen. Brian Joyce has maintained his co-chairmanship of a special Senate panel charged with improving government performance." (Michael Norton, "Joyce still leading Senate panel on govt. performance," State House News Service, 6/9/15)