Helen Brady just ruined Congressman Bill Keating’s summer.
Thanks to the Supreme Judicial Court, now the veteran hack Democrat has an opponent in the November election.
What a revolting development this is! Challengers are to Democrat incumbents in Massachusetts what kryptonite is to Superman. One day you’re flying high through the air, a Man of Steel. Then suddenly you fall out of the sky — just ask Rep. Mike Capuano.
Make that ex-Rep. Mike Capuano.
The odds of Helen Brady ousting Keating are negligible — in 2016 she lost a state rep’s race to Cory Atkins out in Concord, for goodness’ sake. But the very fact that he has an opponent makes Keating agitated.
Which is why he got her knocked off the ballot by the State Ballot Law Commission.
Doesn’t Helen Brady know who Bill Keating is? Not only does he make $180,000 or so a year as a Congressman, but he also collects a state pension of $113,669 a year. This is a guy who’s had his snout buried in the public trough since 1976.
So it had been shaping up as a great summer for Keating. With everything still pretty much shut down, Keating didn’t even need to make the most minimal of efforts down on the Cape. No glad-handing — er, glad-elbowing. No clam chowder fests to judge. No regattas to appear at. No drunken Kennedys to bend his ear.
But now Keating has to at least pretend to he’s in a fight.
That’s the bad news. The good news is, he can raise money off Helen Brady.
It’s a long story, but when the panic hit, it was impossible for candidates to get the signatures they needed to get on this year’s ballot. Everything in lockdown, no gathering signatures at local dumps or the annual town meetings. All the town halls where the signatures had to be taken were likewise shut down.
Even entrenched incumbents were sweating it out, wondering what they would do.
So the rules were changed to make it easier to get on the ballot, and a few startups appeared to gather signatures “electronically.” The requirements for Congress were cut from 2,000 signatures to 1,000.
Helen Brady used the same company as 39 other candidates, Democrats as well as Republicans. She was all set, but then one of Keating’s coat holders challenged the signatures. The case went to the Ballot Law Commission.
The chairman of the Commission is one Brian Merrick, a former state judge who now collects his own state pension of $91,360 a year. Here’s a description of Merrick upon his retirement at age 70 in 2014:
“Known for his sharp legal mind, strong wit, and habit of wearing bow ties and boat shoes underneath his judicial robes, Judge Merrick has been admired by many throughout his career.”
You know who uttered that unctuous flattery? None other than Congressman Keating — he inserted that paean into the Congressional Record upon Merrick’s retirement.
And so Judge Merrick threw Helen Brady off the ballot, quite a nice gesture on behalf of his dear friend, the Congressman. In the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls.
Merrick was reprimanded by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct in 2012 for “repeatedly engaging in conduct while sitting in Orleans District Court that failed to follow well-established procedural requirements.”
He’s better at following other well-established procedural requirements, like giving money to Gov. Charlie Parker ($1,000) and Pay to Play Polito ($250).
Also serving on the Commission is Jennifer Chunias, who gave Tall Deval $2,250, $1,000 to Hillary Clinton and $1,000 to Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins.
Then there’s Commissioner Peggy Ho — she gave $800 to Hillary Clinton, $1,000 to Katherine Clark, $450 to Deval Patrick, $300 to Michelle Wu.
Don’t forget Sarah Herlihy. She gave hundreds to Marsha Coakley, Deval Patrick, the late Mumbles Menino etc.
Do you begin to get the picture about the state Ballot Law Commission? No wonder Helen Brady had to appeal to the SJC.
On Monday, the SJC ordered her back onto the November ballot. And now Bill Keating is going to have to visit … not just New Bedford, but also the east side of Fall River, which he also represents.
Hey, Keating’s buddy Merrick did the best he could. Now the judge can go back to signing onto ACLU briefs defending Shelley Joseph, the district court jurist who has been indicted by a federal grand jury for letting a career criminal illegal Dominican flee her courthouse in Newton.
And now we have a fight in the Ninth Congressional District. Maybe not much of a race, but it’s better than nothing.
Make him spend it all, Helen.