Monday, February 22, 2010

Hank Stolz is third man in for State Rep

Worcester Magazine reported this week that Hank Stolz, host of a WCRN radio show and a Worcester Cable TV show is leaving the Democratic party to run for State Representative as an independent. The story:
“I feel much more comfortable running as an independent,” Stolz told our sister paper, The Community Journal. He said both major parties have litmus tests for their candidates, and he doesn’t believe he fits into either mold. “The politics are starting to prevent what it is that is right for the district,” he said. Not to mention the power of the independent voting bloc that helped propel Scott Brown to the Senate.

Stolz has been exploring a run for sometime; Worcester Magazine reported back in December that he was looking at running as a Democrat.

At least Hank didn't toss out the whole "I didn't leave the party, the party left me" baloney that other candidates have used when bolting to run as an independent.  (Or maybe he did, the complete article in the Community Journal is still behind a pay firewall). But I'm interested to know what he thinks these litmus tests are.

While Democrats generally hold a certain set of values, the Democratic party in Massachusetts is certainly diverse enough to accept most all comers. Of our elected officials, we have some who are pro-life and others who are pro-choice. Some voted in favor of gay marriage and some opposed. Some believe in strict gun control and others get A ratings from the NRA. Many oppose the death penalty while others are in favor. There isn't complete consensus on budgetary issues...I'd love to hear what Stolz thinks these "litmus test" issues are.

The same is true for Republicans in the state. Even though there are many, many fewer of them in the state house, they also hold a diverse set of views on most issues.

As far as the race itself goes, my gut tells me that this could help Democrat Ken O'Brien quite a bit. Assuming Kimberly Ferguson is in the race on the Republican side, there will be two center-right candidates in the November election vying for the conservatives and conservative-leaning independents, as well as those who want to vote against the incumbent party.

Democrats and Republicans have nearly the same number of registered voters in the district, however Independents usually break for the Republican (this isn't just a Scott Brown phenomenon, it's been this way--at least in Sterling--for as long as anyone cares to remember). Having two strong candidates to split the vote on the right could be just what O'Brien needs to push through.
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