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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; 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; 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; Libby Gormley, producer; Maureen McInerney, graphic designer.




Episode 181: A Trot Down Memory Lane

5/12/21--Listeners, The Horse Race is taking a step back for a few weeks as we prepare to bring you a brand-new series this summer! So be sure to stay on the lookout for that, and in the meantime, we leave you with this last episode where Steve and Jenn are joined by the founding members of The Horse Race -- original cohost Lauren Dezenski and original producer Hannah Chanatry. The four reminisce on the nearly four years since the podcast began and the many guests, segments, live shows, and...


Episode 180: Thanks for the Mem-Murrays

5/5/21-- It's a bittersweet day here in the virtual bunker because it is Stephanie Murray's last appearance as co-host of The Horse Race! She is taking a new role at Politico as author of The Morning Score, a national weekly newsletter. Stick around to the end of the episode to hear how Stephanie has scene the political landscape change in her years on the #mapoli beat. But to begin, we're talking about a persistent debate among Massachusetts officials about whether to make vaccines...


Episode 179: The GIF That Keeps on Giving

4/28/21--This week on The Horse Race, we bring you some bittersweet news. Our very own, extremely talented, reporter and co-host extraordinaire, Stephanie Murray, will be joining us for just one more episode of The Horse Race! She has been promoted to a national position for Politico, so keep an eye out for her as the new author of The Morning Score. In other big #mapoli news, Massachusetts is making big reopening moves. New reopening guidelines include, effective May 29th,(dependent on...


Episode 178: Recounting the Days

4/21/21--This week, there's good news surrounding the vaccine in Massachusetts. Saturday marked a happy milestone in that the state surpassed 2 million residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In national news, all eyes were on Minneapolis Tuesday night when a verdict came down on the Derek Chauvin trial. Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd. Massachusetts political figures have since been responding to the decision, including the six Boston mayoral...


Episode 177: Mayorals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.

4/14/21-- This week, there is a lot of #bospoli news to discuss, and it begins with the Boston Police Department. Acting Mayor Kim Janey on Tuesday named the executive director of Boston’s first Office of Police Accountability and Transparency. This comes as the department is reeling from two major scandals. Jenn and Stephanie discuss where things stand now, and what the future may hold the BPD. Next, Steve Koczela has new data from a poll conducted by The MassINC Polling Group and sponsored...


Episode 176: Born to be Dialed

4/7/21-- This week, Steve, Jennifer, and Stephanie discuss the #bospoli news that Acting Mayor of Boston Kim Janey is in fact running for full-term mayor. She made the announcement Tuesday morning, alongside the release of a campaign ad that speaks to Boston's long history of white male leaders as well as her promises to address issues such as housing and income inequality. She will have been mayor for eight months by the time the election rolls around, giving her a significant incumbency...


Episode 175: Clearing the Air

3/31/21--After weeks of COVID cases on the decline in Massachusetts, data show that they are on the uptick. Not just here in the Bay State, but in states across the nation. This week CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said she felt a sense of "impending doom" and stressed the necessity for people to "hold on a little while longer." In #mapoli news, state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz has said she's "seriously considering" a run for governor in 2022, which brings Steve to take a look at the most...


Episode 174: Mayor May Not

3/24/21-- It's a momentous day in Boston as the city swore in its first non-white non-male mayor in Kim Janey. Stephanie Murray says it's "hard to overstate" just how historic the moment is, as Janey takes on the new role in a ceremony including Ayanna Pressley and Kimberly Budd who are Massachusetts history-makers as well. Later, Stephanie and Steve are joined by outgoing mayor of Lynn, Tom McGee. McGee is one of eight Massachusetts mayors who won't be seeking re-election this year. The...


Episode 173: Orange You Glad We Didn't Say Red Line?

Full transcript: 3/17/21-- Happy St. Paddy's Day, listeners! All three co-hosts are back in the virtual bunker, and there's a whole lot to discuss. The Baker administration announced Wednesday the timeline for all remaining groups to receive the vaccine. In not so pleasant news, the Orange Line derailed. Steve brings up the grim award the MBTA carries for ranking high on a list of transit systems...


Episode 172: A Year on the Coronacoaster

3/10/21--This week, Jenn and Stephanie discuss the Baker administration's announcement of a new vaccine preregistration system. The centralized tool allows people to preregister for a vaccine appointment in any of the state's seven mass vaccination sites. Jenn is also keeping an eye on the continued tensions in state leadership, where, after a year of Governor Baker operating under a state of emergency, she describes an "active effort by a few state legislators to hem in Baker’s emergency...


Episode 171: COVID 101

3/3/21--Stephanie and Jenn regroup in the virtual pod bunker, starting the episode with a quick recap of a special election. Jeff Turco pulled off a victory in the 19th Suffolk district Democratic primary to replace Bob DeLeo. Stephanie breaks down the contributing factors to Turco's win, including the fallout from allegations of sexual misconduct aimed at then-candidate Tino Capobianco. Later, the hosts are joined by a pair of student journalists who covered the COVID outbreak and breakdown...


Episode 170: Social Distancing Studies

2/24/21-- A year ago this week marks one of the last weeks before a state of emergency was declared in Massachusetts and self-isolation began. In that time, schools throughout the state have implemented remote learning for at least a portion, if not most of that time when the school year was in session. Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeff Riley on Tuesday called for elementary school students to return to in-person learning five days a week in April. Jenn and Stephanie discuss the...


Episode 169: Power of Attorney

2/17/21-- The vaccine rollout continues here in Massachusetts, and while this week bring some good news -- the state now ranks 10th in the country in vaccinations per capita. Still, officials across the state are criticizing Charlie Baker's administration for its vaccine rollout thus far for a few reasons. It got off to a notoriously sluggish start, and the disparities in vaccination rates between racial groups indicate massive inequity in distribution, to name just two. Jennifer and...


Episode 168: Unchartered Territory

2/10/20-- This week on The Horse Race, Jenn and Stephanie bring you something a little different than the usual programming. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh sat through a Senate confirmation hearing last week as President Biden’s pick for Labor Secretary. It looks very likely that he will be confirmed. If that happens and the mayor leaves office before March 5, normally the rules say we would have to have a special election. But given that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and a mayoral...


Episode 167: Luck of the Draw

2/3/21-- Steve, Jennifer, and Stephanie are back in the virtual bunker, each with a different opinion on this week's snowfall. Vaccine rollout rolls on throughout the country, but unfortunately, Massachusetts doesn’t rank too highly in terms of distribution. Steve points to a comparison conducted by NPR which finds the Bay State ranking 37th for efficiency (proportion of doses administered to doses received) and 39th for percent of overall population that’s gotten at least one dose. There...


Episode 166: Mass'd Connections

1/27/21-- It's a new week back in The Horse Race virtual bunker, but Jenn's laser focus on Boston matters has not wavered one bit. Be sure to tune in a couple weeks from now for a special episode covering the Boston City Charter, including a look at this year's special election debacle after Mayor Walsh left his post to join the Biden administration, leaving it open before his term ends. This week, the Massachusetts vaccine rollout continues to receive criticism from various groups. Teachers...


Episode 165: Get Out on the Highway

1/21/2021-- This week, we bring you an all-transit episode of The Horse Race. This is also the first episode under the new Biden administration, and we plan to publish an episode exploring what the new administration means for Massachusetts in the very near future. For now, we jump into the news that state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack is departing to serve on the Federal Highway Administration. The development drew responses of praise and criticism on Pollack's job performance....


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!