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Downtown View: Election Fatigue

I’m provoked at Marty Walz. She used to be the state rep for the Eighth Suffolk District, which encompasses Back Bay and most of Beacon Hill as well as a slice of Cambridge. But she resigned to take a job as the head of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She was a good state rep, and she’ll do a good job as that organization’s executive director.

But what did she leave us with?

An election. I can’t take another election.

The presidential election of 2012 did me in. I’m betting it did you in also. You probably don’t want to hear another ad either extolling some candidate or tearing him or her down. We don’t want to listen to another debate. It’s usually fun standing in line to vote, talking with neighbors, enjoying a late autumn sun. But this time my plan is to grab an absentee ballot and get out of town.

At this point three Democratic candidates have signed up for Marty’s old job—Josh Dawson, Jay Livingstone and Nils Tracy. In theory, one Republican, Victor Navarro, is running too, but I can’t raise him or the Republican State Committee on the phone or online, so we’ll have to see.

There’s more bad news, election-wise. We also have to suffer through a U.S. Senate race this spring. Remember how the Republicans were so eager to anoint John Kerry as Secretary of State? They hoped that in the special election to replace him Scott Brown would win as he did in 2010. But that plan derailed after Brown, having already run for the Senate twice in two years, understandably decided he didn’t want to run in 2013 and 2014 also. Besides, he’s drawing serious money with his gig on Fox.

So now we have three Republicans—former Navy SEAL and financier Gabriel Gomez, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, and state Representative Dan Winslow—running in the Republican primary. Two congressmen, Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, are duking it out on the Democratic side. The Republicans decided to accept outside money in this race. That’s good news since Karl Rove, Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers will waste their money while creating jobs for Massachusetts ad makers and TV stations. The bad news is that we can’t turn on our televisions during May and June lest we endure even more sickening ads than we had to undergo this past fall.

If they can get 10,000 signatures together by April 3, two other candidates might join the pack. Jack E. Robinson, a former Republican candidate for everything and an extra in the film “Jaws,” is said to be running as an Independent. Daniel Fishman is a Libertarian candidate. His most recent effort was last November when he was an also-ran in the race dominated by Congressman John Tierney and his Republican challenger Richard Tisei.

Keeping track of the dates of these elections is not easy.

The Senate primary is April 30. The state rep primary is May 28. It’s a blessing that the general election for both positions will take place on June 25, saving some money and our time. The senate election alone is supposed to cost cities and town more than $13 million.

But these elections aren’t the only blow to a fatigued nation. Mitt Romney has surfaced, crawling out of that California hole he buried himself in after his loss. He immediately started talking about Obama’s lack of leadership. I believe we settled that in November, Mitt. Surely there is some new idea or new words he could use that would be more interesting than re-hashing what didn’t work last time.

Let’s just be thankful we’re not also in Jack Hart’s old stomping ground, the First Suffolk Senate District, which is mostly South Boston. There’s an election going on over there too.

With all these special elections and the complicated scheduling, we’ll probably all show up on the wrong day, not knowing which election is being held. That’s if anyone shows up at all. The attendance record in special elections is not good.

Downtown View is a regular column by Karen Cord Taylor who founded The Beacon Hill Times weekly newspaper in 1995 and served as its editor and publisher until late 2007. She also founded and served as editor and publisher of the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge and The Back Bay Sun weeklies. Her column appears in those newspapers as well as the Regional Review, which serves Boston’s North End. These weeklies are now owned by the Independent Newspaper Group. She is the author of “Blue Laws, Brahmins and Breakdown Lanes: An Alphabetic Guide to Boston and Bostonians” and the co-author of “The Lady Architects,” a book about three women who practiced architecture in New England and elsewhere in the early 20th century. She lives in downtown Boston and blogs at BostonColumn.com

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