Lucky rocks, pasta e fagioli soup, Boz Scaggs, and a victory?
Democrat Andrea Silbert has a rock she keeps in her purse, a ping pong-sized ball of lavender-colored quartz from the Magaliesberg Mountains in South Africa that she hopes will bring her luck in today's lieutenant governor's primary.
Her opponent, Worcester Mayor Timothy P. Murray, is counting on a lucky lunch of pasta e fagioli soup from Dell'Ovo's Kitchen. The hearty tomato-based broth has become such an Election Day tradition for the two-term mayor that he bought a to-go cup on Monday in case his first run for statewide office takes him out of Worcester today at lunchtime.
And for Kenneth G. Chase, a Republican candidate for US Senate, there is nothing luckier on voting day than listening to a worn tape of Boz Scaggs' 1976 album "Silk Degrees." When Chase lost a 2004 election to US Representative Edward J. Markey, he joked that the difference was Scaggs.
"I had misplaced the tape when I moved," said Chase, who dates the luck of "Silk Degrees" to his work on Republican William F. Weld's victorious 1990 run for governor.
"We were rocking and rolling to 'Lido Shuffle' across the Commonwealth," Chase said.
By today's primary, most voters have been pummelled with the candidates' slogans, tax plans and education platforms. But few are aware of the traditions and superstitions that are quietly embraced by long-time office holders and political newcomers alike.
Perhaps the most famous political tradition in Massachusetts belongs to Senator John F. Kerry, who has eaten clam chowder and little neck clams on the half shelf for lunch at the Union Oyster House each election day he was a candidate since 1972. Kerry, who is not up for re-election this year, had been undefeated with his lucky lunch until he fell to George W. Bush in the 2004 president race.
Three-time candidate Christopher Gabrieli, a late entry into the Democratic gubernatorial race, has a few traditions. Each election day, his campaign said, he walks his children to their Beacon Hill school bus stop to "remind them that win or lose, this is how democracy works, and everyone should be proud to be a part of it," according to his campaign. But he too relies on culinary favorites. "Chris will also enjoy his lucky lunch: a turkey sandwich with spicy brown mustard on sourdough bread, with a Diet Dr. Pepper," according to a campaign spokeswoman.
Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly "has one Election Day tradition -- winning," said Corey Welford, a spokesman for his reportedly flagging Democratic campaign for governor.
Deval Patrick, the former civil rights prosecutor, is running for office for the first time and had not developed any superstitions or traditions, according to his campaign.
For Democrat A. Joseph DeNucci, who has been the state auditor since 1986 and is running for a sixth term, luck is in the little things. DeNucci takes heed of an old Italian superstition and will only walk out of a room through the same door through which he walked in.
"He's a little more conscious of it on Election Day," said Glenn Briere, his spokesman.
But Democrat John Bonifaz, who is challenging Democrat William F. Galvin for Secretary of State, said he might just have a lucky something that beats them all -- a charm that weighed in at 7 pounds, 11 ounces.
Bonifaz's daughter was initially due on Monday.
"But she chose to come two weeks early and help her daddy in the final stretch of the campaign," said Bonifaz, whose daughter Marisol was born at 9:32 a.m. on Sept. 4.
"My beautiful baby girl is the lucky charm I'm taking into the voting booth," he said.