Newton City Democrats put on a dysfunctionality clinic last night when the party’s old guard narrowly squelched an uprising. But then — somewhat dramatically — the young upstarts struck back and elected their guy too — setting the stage for a year or more of internal drama as they head into a busy election year.
Oh and in the middle of it all, long-time party boss Martina Jackson, collapsed, depriving herself a chance to offer a victory speech and perhaps stop what was about to happen next.
OK here’s how it all went down: As we reported in February, afters years of complaints that the Newton City Democratic Committee were out of step with the times and technology and not especially welcoming to folks born, oh, elsewhere or in the last four decades or so, Shawn Fitzgibbons announced that he was going to challenge long-time chair Martina Jackson for the job of helping elect Democrats.
After months of lobbying — including a wussy NewTV ‘debate’ — and lots of behind the scenes maneuvering, the big election was held last night at Newton South.
Now when City Democrats hold their elections, they don’t exactly do it the way other elections are held in our city, our state or our country. No sirree. Elections for the party chair are an open ballot, meaning you get to vote, but you have to print your name and sign your ballot, which means that the winner or anyone else for that matter can later go back and look to see if they voted for you or not before they send out their holiday cards or endorse you for Governor’s Council.
So anyway, after speeches, voting, thumb-twiddling and ingesting Passover-appropriate macaroons, and ‘vote for Shawn’ brownies, Jackson was announced as the winner as the winner, 114-102.
As soon as the results were announced, Jackson fell to the ground. A crowd circled around. Cups of water magically appeared. And an ambulance was called. Thankfully, she seemed to be OK. After a few minutes, Jackson stood up, blushed, waved and as far as I could tell left the building — but not in the ambulance.
Now this post is already too long so I’ll let Ted Hess Mahan explain the minutia behind the next part. All I’ll say is that a few minutes later, a motion was made to elect a co-chair. While the insiders no doubt were expecting to re-elect Tim Snyder, who has held that post with Jackson, many of the insiders (was that Mayor Cohen in the lobby?) went home (“Victory Garden” reruns perhaps?) and Fitzgibbons was elected co-chair!
So now the City Dems have two co-chairs — think Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton or Al Capone and Bugs Moran — with two different visions for how to organize themselves; what a party chair should or shouldn’t do and important Congressional, Senate and Presidential election coming up where organizers and dollars from Newton Democrats could be important.