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Sco asks the question.
Now that Middlesex County Register of Probate John Buonomo has stepped down from office in the face of theft charges, it is worth spending a little time discussing what might happen if Buonomo wins the primary, but then withdraws his name from the General Election ballot.
Sco has experience with this, as something similar happened (a late withdrawal) in his district. Sco is Watertown Chair of the DTC (Dem Town Committee). Basically, the local Democratic party has the opportunity to meet to choose a candidate for an upcoming general election if they have no candidate due to late withdrawal. He tells us the following (with the caveat that he is not a lawyer and could stand to be corrected):
As the newspapers are reporting, it is too late for Buonomo to withdraw his name from the primary ballot. Since his is the only name that will appear and this race is so low-profile, it is not inconceivable that he will get more votes than any write-in challenger. WBUR this morning was reporting that should he win the primary, Buonomo would withdraw his name from the general election. Democrats throughout the county would then be able to fill the ballot line via a caucus, as provided for in Mass General Laws chapter 53, sections 49 and 14.
He goes on to tell us how he thinks this would work under party rules. (Worth the read, I won’t quote the whole thing.) Lowell would be alloted some 24 delegates (divvied up to its 11 wards). And this is all on a severely short timetable:
Keep in mind that all this must happen between the time Buonomo withdraws from the ballot — no sooner than the morning of September 17th, the day after the election — and September 25th at 5PM, the Secretary of State’s deadline to fill vacancies.
If this does go to a caucus under these rules, Lowell shouldn’t be left out (and neither should its neighbors). Due to the largely defunct Lowell Democratic City Committee (yes, defunct, as much as I personally like some of its members, there is, in effect, only an LDCC on paper, not in reality), we may well fail to be represented at any county-wide caucus…if things go as I bet they will.
Of course, as sco says, it is a low-profile position. “I’m wondering exactly how many people I’d be able to convince to show up on one or two days notice to pick delegates for a caucus that would decide such a low-profile position. My guess is very few… My hunch is that this will be true in communities throughout the county.”
Indeed. Given my above complaint about the nature of our local Committee it’s even less likely that Lowell will even send one delegate in such a case. A rather unfortunate situation if you ask me.
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