Everyone is gushing over that clever campaign ad by Massachusetts State Rep. Carl Sciortino, who’s running in a crowded primary for now Senator Ed Markey’s vacant house seat.
Sciortino, who is openly gay, tells voters about coming out to his conservative tea party father…as a Massachusetts liberal.
“That ad has really taken off,” Sciortino told Chris Matthews on Hardball. “We get to fight over the years for all these things that I work on, but we still love each other and get along because of it or in spite of it.”
Since the ad aired on Boston area cable, it has received national attention and over 200,000 hits on YouTube.
“We plan to make an additional $100,000 ad by with this commercial,” Campaign Manager Matt Larson said.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee quickly endorsed Sciortino, carrying with them resources in terms of ground troops and financial support up to the Massachusetts’ 5th in advance of the Oct. 15 special election.
Additionally, several progressive lawmakers on Capitol Hill including Progressive Caucus Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) have decided to back the 35-year-old Sciortino.
“Before this, he had basically no shot,” said Steve Kornacki, MSNBC weekend host of Up. “That said, the attention he’s getting with this is off the charts, so who knows.”
“It’s the ultimate test of how far a really clever, viral ad can get you.” Kornacki said.
But Sciortino’s challenge is no small order. He faces a slew of Democratic rivals before he can capture the nomination for the seat and geography could pose a problem for him.
He is battling three state senators including frontrunner Katherine Clark, Karen Spilka, and Will Brownsberger. Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Martin Long, an author, and Paul John Maisano, who works in the construction industry are also competing in the 5th district race.
“He’s a state representative, which gives him a smaller base than the others to start with, and only half of his state house district is actually in MA-5, so that further reduces it,” said Kornacki. “He’s also an outsider in the party and not much in the way of organizational support,” he said.
State Senate districts in Massachusetts are roughly four times the size of State House districts which is helpful to the three state senators Sciortino faces when it comes to name recognition but a factor complicated by the new commercial generating chatter everywhere.
“This is a very solidly Democratic district, a very progressive district frankly and people are really clamoring for a strong progressive leadership, people that don’t back down from tough fights,” Sciortino told Matthews. “I think we’re well positioned to win this because my values as a progressive are in line with the district, our campaign is in a strong position, and my dad is helping to the story about me as a progressive fighter,” he said.
According to Dave Paleologos, director of Suffolk University Polling Center, Sciortino plays very well in what he refers to as the 5th district’s “big three,” population centers of Arlington, Cambridge and Medford (where Sciortino is from). He estimates the big three are 30% of the overall vote turn out in that district and expects that if he performs well in those communities who could win.
“Carl is an amazing candidate who has won campaigns just on bumper stickers,” said Paleologos. “He has an animated base which goes a long way in a Congressional primary and sure to boost him in the big three.”