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The Horse Race


A weekly podcast on Massachusetts politics, policy and elections. Hosted by Steve Koczela, Jennifer Smith, and Lisa Kashinsky.

A weekly podcast on Massachusetts politics, policy and elections. Hosted by Steve Koczela, Jennifer Smith, and Lisa Kashinsky.


United States


A weekly podcast on Massachusetts politics, policy and elections. Hosted by Steve Koczela, Jennifer Smith, and Lisa Kashinsky.




Episode 213: The Deal on the Bus

5/19/2022-- This week, Jenn and Lisa begin discuss what’s happening in the race for State Auditor – current Auditor Suzanne Bump endorsed candidate Chris Dempsey as her successor, calling him a “true progressive.” She had previously refuted some of the claims made by Diana DiZoglio, another candidate, about the purview of the auditor’s office. Our first guest this week is Caroline Vanasse, Project Manager for the MBTA Bus Network Redesign. She shares details of the redesign, explaining the...


Episode 212: SCOTUS shockwaves could shake Mass.

5/5/2022-- Today on The Horse Race, Steve and Lisa begin the episode by running through the newest fundraising numbers of the candidates running for statewide office. Plus, Lisa breaks down the results of the special election for the District 1 Boston City Council seat. The MassINC Polling Group is out with new data on how parents feel about their children's academics and wellbeing in school. Compared to the last wave of education polling, Steve explains, this time around parents aren't...


Episode 211: How many people have actually had COVID?

4/28/22--This week, Steve and Lisa discuss the state of COVID rates in Massachusetts, and what we might be missing when we talk about numbers of positive cases. New data from The MassINC Polling Group shows there are disparities between the households that use at-home tests to test for COVID and those that get tested at a testing site. That means we may be undercounting cases in specific places and groups. Wealthier people are more likely to have been testing themselves at home, where...


Episode 210: Stop, Drop, and Poll

4/21/22-- Today, The Horse Race is breaking down two state-focused polls out this week. The first is a poll conducted by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, which asked likely Democratic primary voters about their choices in the 2022 races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and state auditor. The poll shows gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey with a strong lead over opponent Sonia Chang-Diaz, which grew since The MassINC Polling Group's poll on the candidates from...


Episode 209: State House Roundup: Budget Theater

4/14/2022-- The Masachusetts House of Representatives released their FY 2023 budget proposal this week, and friends of the pod as well as State House News Service reporters Katie Lannan and Chris Lisinski are here to break down the line items as well as the differences in budget priorities between Governor Baker and the House and Senate. Chris and Katie also dive into the news of a union in the works among Senate staffers who say they are seeking pay equity and a culture change in their...


Episode 208: Gateways takeaways for the UK

4/7/2022--This week on The Horse Race, we bring you another of the Internet's Finest: a list from ranking Boston as the fourth-best "pizza city" in the U.S. In case you were wondering, it ranks above both New York City and Chicago. Steve and Jenn dissect the list's confusing criteria for assembling such a list. Please do let us know your thoughts on this -- does Boston deserve its place on the list? Tweet at us @The_HorseRace. For our first segment, Steve and Jenn discuss...


Episode 207: Anthony Amore on State Auditor Run

3/31/22--It shouldn't be too difficult to sit back, relax and enjoy this week's episode of The Horse Race because, according to a WalletHub study (, the state of Massachusetts ranks among the least stressed states in the nation. Jennifer, Lisa, and Steve have a lot to say about the accuracy of this study. Later, in light of Governor Charlie Baker's HireNow program geared towards getting people back to work and meeting employers needs, we...


Episode 206: Transportation for a whole new world

3/24/2022--This week on The Horse Race, a new development in the Republican primary race for governor. Candidate Geoff Diehl announced his running mate, Leah Cole Allen. Allen served briefly as a state representative in YEAR before becoming a nurse. "She keeps Diehl's ticket firmly in conservative territory," Lisa explains. Allen is anti-abortion, anti-mask and vaccine mandates, isn't vaccinated herself, and and told reporters she thinks there’s “enough evidence” to support the possibility...


Episode 205: Saving Daylight, Saving Packies?

3/17/2022-- Happy St. Patrick's Day from all of us at The Horse Race! Steve and Jennifer discuss the return of the in-person St. Patrick's Day breakfast, happening this Sunday. It's an almost annual tradition of Massachusetts politicians gathering and making jokes at one another's expense for what Jennifer describes as "basically a big Irish roast." Plus, big news coming out of the U.S. Senate-- a bill passed that would make Daylight Saving permanent, ending the ritual of turning the clocks...


Episode 204: Yawu Miller on changing caucuses

3/10/11-- This week, while certain industries are seeing patrons come back in droves amid the bottoming out of COVID cases -- arts and culture venues, restaurants, gyms -- one space that has yet to see such an influx are corporate office. Steve wrote about the risk this phenomenon poses to downtowns like Boston in CommonWealth. And later, it's caucus season in Massachusetts. Yawu Miller, reporter for The Bay State Banner covered the ins and outs of the 2022 Massachusetts season. He stops by...


Episode 203: Diana DiZoglio on State Auditor race; MassGOP makes moves

3/3/2022--This week on The Horse Race, Jennifer, Steve, and Lisa discuss the growing field of candidates in two major statewide races: attorney general and lieutenant governor. Republican Jay McMahon, who’s run for political office in Massachusetts before, stepped into the race for state attorney general. Anthony Amore, the 2018 secretary of state candidate is now running for state auditor. And former state rep Kate Campanele joined as Chris Doughty’s running mate, making her the first...


The Horse Race Blooper Reel: 2022 Edition

2/24/2022--This week, the hosts are off for February school vacation. Please enjoy the 2022 edition of Horse Race outtakes, and we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.


Episode 202: State House Roundup: Back to Beacon Hill

2/17/2022--Today on The Horse Race, we look ahead to next week’s reopening of the State House. After more than 700 days of closure due to COVID, doors open on Tuesday, and legislators will return to their offices. In this week’s installment of State House Roundup, friends of the pod Katie Lannan and Chris Lisinski of State House News Service break down the ramifications of the in-person return and highlight the major policies being tackled on Beacon Hill now— namely, voting reform, a bill to...


Episode 201: Chris Dempsey on State Auditor Run

2/10/2022-- This week on The Horse Race, Lisa and Jenn discuss this week’s announcement out of the Governor’s office that the mask mandate for schools will end Feb. 28 and the reactions from the candidates running for Governor which, unsurprisingly, follow party lines. In the first of a series of segments interviewing State Auditor candidates, Jenn, Steve, and Lisa speak with Chris Dempsey, who speaks about his plans to audit the State Police and create an Auditor's commission on...


Episode 200: Voting reforms & Everybody's running

2/3/2022--- This week on the horse race, Jenn, Steve, and Lisa discuss their brushes with the 24- hour record-breaking blizzard that hit the northeast this past weekend. Shifting to the many races of 2022, Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell announced her campaign for Attorney General. Lisa spoke with Campbell about how policing reform fits in to the Attorney General’s office. Meanwhile, in the race for Massachusetts governor, GOP candidate Geoff Diehl made waves as he hired Corey...


Episode 199: Mayor Michelle Wu on what's ahead for Boston

1/27/2022--This week brings a handful of new campaign announcements. Among them, Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin who confirmed he is seeking his eighth term in office, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg who is running for re-election, labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan who announced her bid for Attorney General, and Chris Doughty, a moderate Republican businessman from Wrentham and new entrant into the race for governor of Massachusetts. Jenn, Steve, and Lisa discuss Governor Baker's...


Episode 198: Test Stressing

1/20/2022--This week on The Horse Race, two big campaign announcements hit the news. First, it's the one we've been waiting on for months. Attorney General Maura Healey is running for Governor. She enters the race after much anticipation and speculation with a rate of name recognition and funding that dwarfs that of her competitors. Tanisha Sullivan, President of the Boston NAACP, announced her candidacy for Secretary of the Commonwealth. Bill Galvin, who has been in the position for almost...


Episode 197: The Longest Intermission

1/13/22--Today on The Horse Race, Jenn and Lisa discuss the biggest headlines of the week so far -- the continued issues around in-person schooling during a surge in COVID-19 cases, the newest entrant in the race for Lieutenant Governor (Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll), and the Boston's self-imposed deadline to clear tents from the Mass & Cass area wherein 140-plus people currently reside. Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Michael Bobbitt provides a glimpse into the arts and...


Episode 196: New year, same COVID

1/6/2022-- After ringing in the first Horse Race episode 2022, Steve, Jenn, and Lisa discuss poll results just out from The MassINC Polling Group. The statewide poll on Massachusetts residents found just around a quarter of them feel as though the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts is better than it was this time last year. The poll also found that unvaccinated people feel the safest doing activities like going to a movie and dining indoors, while people who are the most...


Episode 195: The crises at Mass. and Cass

12/23/21--On the last episode of 2021, Steve and Lisa discuss their holiday plans that have largely been rearranged thanks to the brutal arrival of the Omicron variant. It's a reality confronting people across Massachusetts, and as folks plan to safely convene with friends and family, the lack of available COVID testing is making that near impossible. With case numbers rising across the country and here in Massachusetts, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu this week announced an indoor mask mandate....