read more: Boston Herald Article

We live in a “one party state” – the bluest state in the nation. Despite Scott Brown’s Senate victory last winter, Democrats still hold the governor’s office, a supermajority of the Legislature and all 10 congressional seats.

With a near monopoly on government, it is hard to believe that fully 62 percent of Massachusetts voters are either independent or Republican. What good, after all, is a politically diverse electorate if it continues to elect nothing but Democratic clones?

Massachusetts’ one-party rule is government without checks and balances – the majority party takes its constituents for granted, lacks any incentive to compromise and often runs roughshod over political dissenters. Plus, an entirely blue congressional delegation could cost the state clout in the U.S. House if, as predicted, Republicans win control this November.

Feeling the urge to start belting out that 1978 classic “Bluer than blue, sadder than sad?” Don’t start dusting off your 45s just yet. From where I sit, it looks like we’ve got a few horse races.

Although many pundits focus on the race for the open seat in the 10th congressional district, GOP challengers in the 5th and 4th are waging uphill but credible campaigns against iconic Democrats.

In the 5th, which runs from Haverhill down to Wayland, businessman Jon Golnik is giving Rep. Niki Tsongas a run for her money. Golnik, a down-home hockey dad (complete with work boots and lumberjack coat), is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Wharton School of Business. But Golnik is modest about his accomplishments, preferring instead to focus on the district’s future.

Golnik’s humility makes him a powerful foil to Tsongas, widow of the late Sen. Paul Tsongas (for whom Lowell’s Tsongas Arena is named). Elected in 2007 on the strength of her famous name, Tsongas ran unopposed in 2008. But her lock-step support for Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes her vulnerable in a district that voted overwhelmingly for Brown.

Is Tsongas nervous? She should be. If the Brown election proved anything, it’s that legislative seats belong to the “people,” not just to famous political families or the Democratic Party.

In the bizarrely gerrymandered 4th district (which covers – amazingly! – Newton and Fall River), Sean Bielat is running strong against Democratic dinosaur Barney Frank. Frank’s almost three decades in Washington have made an already arrogant man outright contemptuous of people (voters, reporters, staff on the Fire Island Ferry) who treat him like anything less than a VIP. Frank, described by The Wall Street Journal as a man who “spent his career encouraging mortgage loans to people who can’t repay them,” should be vulnerable, if not for his outright egotism, then certainly for his role in the financial collapse of the sub-prime lending market.

read more: Boston Herald Article

Like Golnik, Bielat is an unassuming businessman and a Wharton grad whose candidacy was energized by his district’s support of Brown. A former Marine and current reservist, Bielat became a media darling last week when Frank, in an act of great hubris, refused to debate him on a FOX25 candidate forum.

Tsongas and Frank are part of the entitled left. They embody an arrogance of power that has left many constituents wondering, “what have you done for me lately?”

Who knows? Maybe grassroots candidates Golnik and Bielat will topple the establishment Dems and, in so doing, help Massachusetts retain a degree of influence in what could be a Republican-controlled House come January. Anyone else seeing shades of purple?

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