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The Horse Race


Your weekly look at politics, policy, and elections in Massachusetts. THE HORSE RACE: Steve Koczela, host; Jennifer Smith, host; Stephanie Murray, host; Libby Gormley, producer; Maureen McInerney, graphic designer.

Your weekly look at politics, policy, and elections in Massachusetts. THE HORSE RACE: Steve Koczela, host; Jennifer Smith, host; Stephanie Murray, host; Libby Gormley, producer; Maureen McInerney, graphic designer.


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Your weekly look at politics, policy, and elections in Massachusetts. THE HORSE RACE: Steve Koczela, host; Jennifer Smith, host; Stephanie Murray, host; Libby Gormley, producer; Maureen McInerney, graphic designer.




Episode 164: Charter School

1/13/21--The U.S. House Representatives moves to impeach President Donald Trump today. This comes after last week’s insurrection on the Capitol by rioters who were incited by Trump who has for months been spreading false claims of voter fraud during the presidential election that he lost. State governments are preparing for the potential of more violent acts upon state capitols as we ramp up to Inauguration Day for President-elect Joe Biden. For Massachusetts’ part, Governor Baker has said...


Episode 163: A Capitol Offense

1/7/21-- Steve, Jenn, and Stephanie are back in The Horse Race bunker, this time to rehash the unsettling events that took place Wednesday in D.C. when pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building during a process to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory. This comes after months of President Trump spouting false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election in which he lost. Rioters were propelled to mob the capitol after a Trump rally that day during which he egged on...


Say Goodbye to 2020 in Massachusetts: A Horse Race Blooper Reel

12/30/20-- Farewell, 2020! Can't say we'll miss you, but as you can tell from this week's episode, there were some fun moments after all. Please enjoy this end-of-year blooper reel, and we'll be back with new episodes on Massachusetts politics, policy, and elections in 2021!


Episode 162: Could DeLeo be DeLeaving?

12/23/20-- Happy Holidays, Horse Racers! We are guilty of claiming last week was our last episode of 2020, but as soon as we hit 'publish,' there was a major development in the Massachusetts legislature, so, we're back. Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Bob DeLeo officially filed a disclosure Friday saying he's in talks with Northeastern University about a job there, meaning he could be leaving the post he's held for a record-breaking 12 years. In looking ahead to who may...


Episode 161: Feelin' '22

12/16/20-- This week, we are both celebrating a new development that is the first COVID-19 vaccinations making their way to U.S. citizens, as well as passing a grim milestone that is 300,000 deaths in the U.S. due to COVID-19. Here in Massachusetts, rates of community spread are still worryingly high, and several municipal leaders have decided to roll back reopening in their own cities further than what Gov. Charlie Baker's administration laid out. Some mayors are also calling for a relief...


Episode 160: Vax to the Future

12/9/20-- In keeping with baseless election fraud lawsuits happening around the country, Massachusetts political hopefuls have decided to join in the fun. A handful of unsuccessful GOP candidates for Congress and state office in Massachusetts are asking that a federal court overturn the 2020 election results in the state. The claim is that mail-in voting is unconstitutional, but the plaintiffs are not likely to be successful. Suits like these have already been shut down elsewhere in the...


Episode 159: T Cut or Not T Cut?

12/3/20-- Steve and Jenn are back in the bunker after an atypical (but very 2020) Thanksgiving celebration. After a quick excoriation of the cast of characters on The Bachelorette, the hosts transition to a development on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Kimberly Budd was sworn in Monday as chief justice of the SJC, succeeding the late chief justice Ralph Gants. This makes her the first Black woman to lead the high court. Justice Dalila Wendlandt was confirmed as the first Latina...


Episode 158: Talking Turkey

11/25/20-- Happy Thanksgiving Horse Race listeners! Get ready to talk turkey (and Jell-O?), but first, some #mapoli news. Former Secretary of State and Senator from Massachusetts John Kerry was tapped to serve as a special presidential envoy for climate for the Biden administration. “I’ve been kind of surprised at how little arguing there’s been about the Biden cabinet so far,” Stephanie Murray says. “His choices aren’t big leaders on the progressive side of the party, but progressives have...


Episode 157: The Kids Are Not Alright

11/19/20-- With just a couple months until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, several #MApoli members are being eyed as potential cabinet members of his administration. Stephanie has been cataloging them for the Politico Massachusetts Playbook, and she's got her eye particularly trained on Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who is being pushed for Labor Secretary by the president of the AFL-CIO. Other potential Massachusetts-based picks include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Attorney General Maura...


BONUS Episode: Young adults weather the worst of COVID-19’s mental health burden

11/11/20--The hosts are off this week so please enjoy a BONUS episode of The Horse Race. It is an exploration of the rise in young adults battling mental health impacts of COVID-19, with a #MAPoli angle, of course.


Episode 156: Down for the Count

11/4/20-- What was meant to be a post-election podcast this week is in fact not. As we release this on Wednesday evening, there are still ballots left to count and states that are too early to call. It's not yet clear who our president will be, nor which party will control the Senate. As states scramble to count ballots, The Trump administration said it has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan to halt the counting of ballots there. As Jenn explains, “Depending on the arguments [the...


Episode 155: End Times Insight

10/28/20-- In the run-up to the 2020 election, the drama of U.S. congressional races pretty much ended with the primaries. But, there's still news to be made this week, and Gov. Charlie Baker brought all eyes to Ballot Question 2 Tuesday when he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito issued a joint statement coming out against ranked-choice voting. "At a time when we need to be promoting turnout and making it easier for voters to cast their ballots, we worry that question two will add an additional layer...


Episode 154: Election Daze

10/22/20--With the 2020 election just days away, Jenn, Steve, and Stephanie have a lot to discuss. And that starts with a much needed recap of this week's cringe-inducing episode of The Bachelorette. In even more unsettling news, the Trump administration has been administering an onslaught of attacks upon Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and the media. "It just doesn't make any sense, does it?" Steve asks. Jenn thinks that while it doesn’t make sense to undermine health authorities’ guidance during a...


Episode 153: Bach in the Saddle

10/14/20-- While Stephanie Murray could not make it on The Horse Race this week, she did not fail to bring us the content that really matters. By this of course we mean her Bachelorette recap complete with a #MApoli connection. The bachelor Stephanie had her eye on was, "Certified Harvard Guy" Bennet Jordan. She ran his name through the FEC database and nothing came up, but because he’s 36 - 37 years old, it means he likely crossed paths with a number of familiar #MApoli faces who were at...


Episode 152: Musical Chairmen

10/8/20--Only a week has passed since Steve, Jenn, and Stephanie gathered in the virtual pod studio, but so much has changed. Of course, President Trump's positive COVID-19 test rocked the country and world, and the administration's ever-changing reports on the timeline of Trump's infection have left Americans wondering when he was officially infected and who else (besides the at least 34 staffers who've been identified as COVID-positive) might have the contagion. This fate is not entirely...


Episode 151: For Better or Worcester

10/1/20-- After the most chaotic and uncomfortable presidential debate the country has ever seen, Jennifer, Steve, and Stephanie gather in the virtual bunker to share their thoughts and reflect on the reactions of #mapoli members. Jennifer said, “The president gave a lot of troubling answers on a lot of topics that are extremely consequential and dodged a lot of important questions.” Perhaps the most egregious was his refusal to openly condemn white supremacy. Trump launched into “an...


Episode 150: Yes We Campbell

9/24/20-- This month has proven to be a sad one for the courts both here in Massachusetts and nationally, with the passing of Justice Ralph Gants, and more recently, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Jenn, Steve, and Stephanie discuss the commonality between Governor Charlie Baker and President Donald Trump -- appointing a significant number of justices. In Boston news, city councilor Andrea Campbell put an end to speculation today when she made the announcement that she is in fact...


Episode 149: Ready Mayor One

9/17/20-- This week brought news that Ralph Gants, the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court died suddenly at the age of 65. Gants was an advocate for racial justice, whose call for Harvard to explore racial inequities in the Massachusetts criminal justice system resulted in the publication of a report just last week. As Stephanie and Jenn note, Governor Baker will appoint two justices to the bench this year, as Justice Barbara Lenk plans to retire in December. Once the...


Episode 148: The Horse Race of the Apocalypse

9/9/20--The primary election is over in Massachusetts, and that usually means most of the drama has come to a close, as the most competitive races are done. But on Monday, an announcement from an unlikely source arose regarding a certain 2021 competition. The Boston Globe reported Boston Mayor Marty Walsh saying City Councilor Michelle Wu called him to let him know she would be running for Mayor in the 2021 election. Wu herself has not yet confirmed, but Boston may very well be in for a busy...


Episode 147: Incumbent Upon Us

9/3/20-- Tuesday was primary election day in Massachusetts, and history was made as more than 1.5 million ballots were cast, making this the busiest state primary election in 30 years, in terms of raw votes. The U.S. Senate race was itself historic, in that challenger Joe Kennedy III was defeated by incumbent Sen. Ed Markey, making JKIII the first Kennedy in the political dynasty to lose an election in Massachusetts. The outcome of the race aligned well with what recent polling suggested....