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In The Arena

The 2nd District squeaker

Several forces at play in Andrews’ win

Now some of us have one more reason to root against Belchertown going into tonight’s Intercounty League football showdown with the undefeated Greenfield Green Wave.

Then again, maybe we’ll see Denise Andrews’ Greenfield apologists lining up to throw bouquets of flowers at the Belchertown team bus in honor of the way that town saved their candidate’s bacon in Tuesday’s 2nd Franklin District election.

For most of the election night, Andrews looked like she was going to be a one-term wonder, as Republican Susannah Whipps Lee appeared to be on her way to a solid, five-point win. But thanks to half of Belchertown, which was added to that district when Greenfield was removed, Andrews was able to get up off the mat and squeak out a slim 180-vote win out of over 17,000 ballots case.

As much as some would like to pin the blame on Belchertown, there were other factors that went into this win. If you look at the town-by-town breakdown, Andrews absolutely creamed Lee in the Franklin County small towns, most notably Wendell (398-75), Erving (469-218), Gill (531-206), and Warwick (265-144) — communities which, for the most part, had no idea who Lee was. Would spending more time on the campaign trail have changed those numbers? I have to wonder.

And then there is independent candidate Rick Schober, the Ralph Nader of the 2nd District, whose candidacy was considered, by many, to be a joke. But no one’s laughing anymore. Those 1,906 Schober votes loom large now, especially in Athol and Orange, where he took a combined 536 votes. If even half of those votes go to Lee, she wins.

I’m not sure what Schober is making in his new job, but Andrews ought to consider buying his office coffee supplies for the next year as payment for his spoiler efforts.

Andrews also clearly benefitted from the coattails of Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren, the high voter turnout and the intense interest in getting out the Democratic vote in this increasingly blue state. But you have to give credit where it is due. Andrews also worked pretty hard for this win. I may not agree with her all the time, but the woman knows how to campaign, and she was out there from the primary through the general election, despite being continually hammered by the cocaine-gate and Novartis job controversies.

As for Lee, there is always 2014, assuming a recount doesn’t reverse the decision. But if that doesn’t happen, it’s hard to think the Republicans are going to have a better shot than they had this year at sending their first Franklin-area Republican to Beacon Hill since Shaun Kelly left the 2nd Berkshire District.

What’s the appeal?

I watched all of Elizabeth Warren’s victory speech, and I have to admit, I still don’t get it.

But apparently something is there, because the “true believers” absolutely love her, to the point that they pulled out all the stops in one of the most aggressive electoral closing acts ever seen in this commonwealth.

“I haven’t seen a campaign with this much energy and passion in a very long time,” a jubilant state Sen. Stan Rosenberg said shortly after the race was called for Warren. “To see the number of volunteers, the number of people who gave incredibly amounts of energy, knocking on doors, making contributions, it was inspiring to see.”

I’m not sure what’s next for Brown. Governor, possibly, or another Senate run if John Kerry ends up as Obama’s secretary of state. Either way, he is on his way back to the south shore — and we’ve got a new Nutty Professor headed to Washington.

God Bless America.

Making a move

Politics wasn’t the only thing that had chins wagging at the Greenfield gantlet on Tuesday.

Old friend Terry Ruggles revealed that Greenfield Community Television is about to get a new home base of operations, in the former Town Crier building on Main Street right next to the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.

“It took about seven weeks to negotiate the deal,” Ruggles said. “But it’s going to be great because it gives GCTV a real Main Street presence.”

GCTV Station Manager Scott MacPherson said the tentative plan is to move the station’s administrative offices and radio operation to the Town Crier site, and keep the upstairs Masonic Building space as production space with new editing bays and plenty of room for an organization which is already well on its way to becoming one of the truly great resources in this community.

Storm-victim help

If you’ve got some time, and a few non-perishable food items you can part with, feel free to stop by Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenfield between 4 and 5 p.m. today.

A group of community and church members will be loading a donated Federal Express truck with items to ship to storm-ravaged areas of Long Island which are still without power more than a week after the departure of Superstorm Sandy.

Items of specific need include bottled water, non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, bleach, rubber gloves, trash bags, large size diapers, D-batteries, and various toiletries. Help out if you can.

Chris Collins is the Franklin County News Bureau Chief for WHAI, WPVQ and WHMP Radio. He is a former staff reporter for The Recorder, and is a Greenfield native.

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