Next Tuesday's primary election offers little to get excited about. There’s only one contested race on the Republican side, and in Barnstable County, two Democrat races are contested. In the races for Massachusetts Senator, we endorse Democrat Edward Markey; he has represented the state well and now is not the time to change our Congressional delegation, given the difficult issues the next Congress will face. On the Republican side, we see little difference between the candidates, but endorse Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, whose moderate positions and scientific background are at least rational.
The most important race on the ballot is for Barnstable County Commissioner. And it's not so much the primary but the November election that we are concerned about, when two seats on the commission will be up – incumbent Ron Beaty and the seat now held by Democrat Mary Pat Flynn, who is not running for re-election.
On the Democratic side, three candidates are vying for two positions on that ballot: Mark Forest, Cheryl Lee Andrews and Sheila Lyons. We endorse Forest — one of the region's most knowledgeable and competent public administrators with a long record of public service — and Andrews, a former Provincetown selectman, Barnstable Assembly of Delegates representative and current Cape Cod Commission member. Both, we believe, would represent the county well.
The only candidate on the Republican primary ballot is incumbent Beaty, and that amazes us.
Beaty is an embarrassment to Barnstable County. A convicted felon who served jail time for threatening President George H.W. Bush, Senator Edward Kennedy and State Senator Lois Pines, he has contributed nothing positive in his single term on the commission and has worked to disrupt and disparage county services and officials. His hateful rants on social media are repugnant. Don't take our word for it. In the past week, he wrote, “Did you know that the radical Massachusetts Democrat Party is dominated by unclean individuals who engage in Satanic worship?” and “'BLM' is not a protest movement, it is a scumbag Marxist terror organization that instigates violent riots and looting!” He's posted homophobic and misogynistic statements, and has called Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican considered among the nation's leaders in his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, a totalitarian.
It's unimaginable that Cape Republicans, who have largely disavowed Beaty, could not find anyone to run against him in the primary. Joe Glynn is running a write-in campaign which may get him on the November ballot, but he's likely to be steamrolled by Beaty's cacophonous bile.
We know that county politics is of little interest to many voters. But Cape Cod continues to be an example of how county government can provide important regional services using economies of scale. Barnstable County government has shown their worth for years in programs like the county dredge, the AmeriCorps Cape Cod program and key human services initiatives. And if you're wondering why Cape Cod has such low COVID-19 numbers, some of the credit goes to the coalition-building power of Barnstable County. Our regional government is vital, and deserves competent, stable leadership.
Just as Democrats nationally are enlisting Americans of all political stripes to defeat President Trump, Cape Codders, no matter their political persuasion, need to unite to defeat Ron Beaty in November. We can no longer allow a hateful, bigoted felon to sit on the Barnstable County Commission.
Polls in the Sept. 1 primary will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Residents in Chatham and Harwich vote at their town's community center, and Orleans residents vote at the senior center. All three towns have early voting through Friday, Aug. 28; see your town clerk's office for hours and locations. You can apply for an absentee or early voting ballot in person at your town clerk's office until Aug. 31 at noon.