SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 27, 2010

Harshbarger: Baker memo shows misdeeds in '98 race

BOSTON — A memo Swampscott Republican Charles Baker wrote 12 years ago sounding alarms about state transportation financing has not only shaken up this year's Massachusetts gubernatorial race but rekindled a debate about the outcome of the 1998 campaign.

In a mass e-mail this week, Democrat Scott Harshbarger — who as attorney general lost the 1998 race to acting Gov. Paul Cellucci — said Baker's secret warning about skyrocketing Big Dig costs and their effect on other transportation projects bolstered his own campaign criticisms.

And Harshbarger said Baker's recommendation the administration undertake "draconian" measures — yet only after the election — belie Cellucci's 1998 statements that the Big Dig was "on time and on budget." During that campaign, Baker was winding down his tenure as Cellucci's administration and finance secretary, or budget chief.

Harshbarger, now a Boston attorney, said in an e-mail Monday to a group of reporters and former campaign advisers: "Forgive me for this comment, please, but the 'scar' has not yet fully healed, I guess." He consented to the e-mail's publication during a conversation with The Associated Press.

"Can I now officially complain about the coverage of this issue in 1998?" he wrote. "My recollection is that we repeatedly pointed out, and challenged, that the Cellucci claim that the Big Dig was 'on time and on budget' was BS, and warned of consequences?"

Harshbarger went on to concede "other factors" may well have cost him victory, "but that's my story and I'll stick to it."

Then, in a jab at Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and former House Speaker Thomas Finneran of Boston, two fellow Democrats who nonetheless were lackluster in backing his candidacy, Harshbarger claimed he lost by fewer than 3 percentage points, "which still may still exist in ballots tucked away in City Hall, given the 'support' I had from the mayor and the speaker!"

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Election

Local News
  • 140765_SN_DLE_FESSENDEN4 Special Spaces transforms two downstairs rooms into playroom for Riley Fessenden

    BEVERLY -- What happens when the perfect kid-friendly playroom appears in your house overnight? Beverly's Fessenden kids were mostly speechless when they returned from seeing "The Little Mermaid" on Saturday and got their first look at the playroom t

    July 28, 2014 10 Photos

  • Beverly Hospital courier loses patients’ lab forms

    BEVERLY -- A courier for Beverly Hospital last month lost lab request forms for 54 patients that included names, health insurance identification numbers and, in some cases, Social Security numbers. The courier misplaced the forms, which were in a zip

    July 28, 2014

  • Big plans for three parks in the Point neighborhood SALEM -- One will be overhauled, another created from scratch, and a third will get a spiffed-up community garden. It's a good time to be a park in the Point neighborhood. The densely packed area just south of the city's downtown is on the verge of i

    July 28, 2014

  • Peabody could see school choice profit next year PEABODY -- After three years, the city's schools are projected not only to break even on school choice, but actually make a $30,000 profit. School officials expect to lose just under $300,000 in state aid next year for students who opt to attend scho

    July 28, 2014

  • 140723_SN_DLE_SALVARMY2 Dennis and Susan Knight take over Salem Salvation Army operation

    SALEM -- It was Christmas Eve in Sanford, Maine, but 8-year-old Dennis Knight and his three sisters had good reason to be short on holiday spirit: Their mom and dad had warned them there would be no Christmas that year. The family couldn't afford it.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos