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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 138: School's Out For...Ever?

7/2/20--It’s almost the 4th of July, though if we’re going by the amount of fireworks set off, it’s been 4th of July for several weeks now. There’s also reason for celebration because it’s Poll Release Day. Steve Koczela & co. at The MassINC Polling Group have new data on Massachusetts parents of K-12 students and their experiences with remote learning. But first up, we bring you the latest headlines. Voting reform legislation is on the move after the Massachusetts House and Senate struck a...


Episode 137: Schoolhouse Rocked

6/24/20--A state report was released today on the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home that was the site of a deadly coronavirus outbreak. 76 people, more than a third of the veterans residing at the home, died of COVID-19-related causes. The report found that leadership at the state-run home made “substantial errors” that “likely contributed” to the death toll. Investigations from the Massachusetts Department of Justice and Attorney General Maura Healey will follow, and Governor Charlie Baker obtained an...


Episode 136: Miranda Rights

6/19/20--As we near the official start of summer, Massachusetts continues with Phase 2 of its reopening plan, with malls and hotels open for business, as well as restaurants for outdoor dining and drinking. No sign yet that Massachusetts will need to backtrack on the reopening, as state officials confirm downward trends continue on each of the four key coronavirus metrics they're tracking. In Supreme Court news, three significant developments were made this week. LGBTQ workers were granted a...


Episode 135: RENT

6/10/20-- New data from The MassINC Polling Group show that many Massachusetts renters and homeowners are struggling to make housing payments due to the financial burdens of the coronavirus crisis. MPG President Steve Koczela points to the key finding that people under the most economic strain during the pandemic are also much more likely to be in a household with COVID-19 themselves. Huge disparities exist between demographic groups in likelihood of missing a housing payment, and there is...


Episode 134: Protests and Paths Forward

6/3/20--This week we're bringing you a slightly different version of The Horse Race, a one-on-one conversation between our host and former Dorchester Reporter news editor Jennifer Smith, and Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell. Jenn and Councilor Campbell discuss the protests against systemic racism and police brutality that have broken out in cities all over the world, including Boston, in response to the death of George Floyd by the hands of law enforcement officers. Campbell emphasizes...


Episode 133: Roam Alone

5/28/20--As Massachusetts businesses begin to reopen, how are residents thinking about their transportation options? New data from The MassINC Polling Group shows that residents are leery about utilizing transit options that involve proximity with others, such as buses and trains. Bay Staters are more amenable to the idea of using solo transportation modes -- walking, bicycling, and driving their own cars. With traffic congestion pre-pandemic already at a breaking point, could the next year...


Episode 132: Veepstakes and Hot Takes

5/21/20-- The coronavirus is leaving nothing untouched these days, and that includes our beloved horse racing. We mean that literally, as it was announced the Belmont Stakes, rescheduled and shortened for June 20, will serve as first leg of Triple Crown. No spectators allowed, for obvious reasons. In #MAPoli news, Governor Baker released details this week about Massachusetts' reopening, leaving our hosts wondering how to maintain social distancing etiquette as more outings, albeit with...


Episode 131: H-O-R-S-E

5/13/2020--We're back with another live edition of The Horse Race Happy Hour Livestream which you can watch here: We begin with Governor Baker's 4-phase reopening plan that illustrates a very basic roadmap of how businesses will begin to open up shop once again. Baker's plan, which he announced on Monday, is short on details and leaves business owners wondering what exactly is in store for them. No guidance has yet been provided in regard to...


Episode 130: Food for Thought

5/7/20--On today's episode we're joined by special guest Irene Li, co-founder and owner of Mei Mei in Boston. She talks about the response to the coronavirus pandemic in the restaurant industry at large, and how things look for her eatery in particular. “We know that we are going to weather this thing, even though we don’t know what the other side will look like.” Mei Mei is one of many Boston restaurants now selling groceries after the city made it legal two weeks ago. Consumers can pick up...


Episode 129: Mailed It

4/29/20-- When Governor Charlie Baker announced the statewide stay-at-home advisory and non-essential business closure, the expiration date was set for May 4 - this Friday. But on Tuesday, Baker announced the order would remain in place until May 18. That’s another three weeks of closed businesses, remote work, and for many, lost jobs and wages. Even after a 3 week period in which hopefully the number of cases will begin to decline, people are skeptical that a May 18th reopening will in fact...


Episode 128: The Horse Race Happy Hour

4/22/2020-- In case you missed our Facebook Live Happy Hour show, you can watch the full thing here! This week brought forward a handful of notable moments. Namely, President Trump said Tuesday he’s going to temporarily suspend immigration to the U.S., a move that we still don’t know a lot about. Meanwhile in Massachusetts, Governor Baker announced schools will remain closed in Massachusetts for the rest of the school year. State House News reporter and BFF of the pod Katie Lannan drops into...


Episode 127: The 'Stay at Home' Stretch

Watch the video version here! 4/15/20-- Impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak continue to be felt, as it claims more and more lives, axes the economy, and leaves everyone feeling at least a little uncertain and unsafe. The Trump administration and governors throughout the country have, since the beginning of the virus' spread, disagreed on how to respond. For the most part, though, governors have implemented aggressive actions in their own states that were often...


Episode 126: Flour Power

Watch the video version here! 4/8/20--Almost a month has passed since Governor Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency, and state officials expect the coming days (April 10-April 20) to produce the peak of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. As of Wednesday, confirmed cases in Massachusetts are up to 16,790, according to The Boston Globe. But the toll of coronavirus isn't hitting all demographics equally. Reports from cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and...


Episode 125: Suffolk Clowns

Watch the video version here! 4/1/20-- It’s been 11 days since Governor Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory to the people of Massachusetts, and today, he extended it from April 7th to May 4th. Since then he’s also asked that out-of-state visitors self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to Massachusetts, or just don’t come here at all. Within the stay-at-home advisory is the mandate that schools and non-essential businesses remain closed until May 4th....


Episode 124: Testing 1, 2, 3

3/25/20--It's another week of podcasting from our respective bunkers, and another week of coronavirus developments coming at us at breakneck speed. The impacts of the outbreak are even dipping into our elections even, exhibited by the moves to push back the March 31 special elections. Governor Charlie Baker administered a stay-at-home order, shuttering all non-essential businesses. Will Bay Staters listen to the Governor's call? According to the newest poll put out by The MassINC Polling...


Episode 123: Home Alone

3/18/20-- The spread of coronavirus has continued to ramp up across the state and the nation at large, and lots of people are switching to remote work. That includes us over at Horse Race Global Media HQ, so bear with us as we transition away from the comfort of our cozy podcast studio and wrangle with the technology that allows us to conduct interviews from a distance. Our first guest is Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, who updates us on how the Council operations have changed, and what...


Episode 122: The Women Explain It All

3/11/20-- This week on The Horse Race, we're celebrating International Women's Day with an all-female cast. We begin with the scary news of the ever-growing novel coronavirus that has now been officially dubbed a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Here in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency, and as Politico reporter Stephanie Murray can attest, candidates campaigning for office are taking measures to limit human contact and reduce risk. WBUR...


Episode 121: The Horse Race LIVE: Super Tuesday Recap Barn Burner

3/5/20-- Super Tuesday has come and gone, and The Horse Race team is breaking down how it all unfolded. This week on our very special live edition, however, the Horse Racers were not the sole hosts! Gina Christo and Wilnelia Rivera of the Deep Democracy podcast served as special guest co-hosts, bringing insight and no shortage of hot takes to the conversation. Later, Will Rasky of Rasky Partners joins the discussion. He serves as an advisor to Unite The Country, an independent expenditure...


Episode 120: Berning Down the House

2/26/20-- Super Tuesday is now less than a week away, and once those results are in (which we will be breaking down at our live podcast the following Wednesday--register at, we will likely have a much better understanding of what the path to the nomination may look like. Our home state of Massachusetts is of course one of the 14 states participating in Super Tuesday, and Bernie Sanders is gunning for the 91 delegates the state has to offer. The Sanders campaign is...


Episode 119: Debate Night & the Feeling's Right

2/19/20--We're coming at you today sandwiched between two debate nights. The first was yesterday's face-off between U.S. Senate candidates Congressman Joe Kennedy III and incumbent Ed Markey, and tonight's is, of course, the Democratic Primary Debate on the Las Vegas stage, where candidates Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. First, Jennifer and Stephanie recap last night's U.S. Senate debate hosted by WGBH. The two Democrats...