McGovern Aide Finds Own Success Tuesday

Augustus Wins Mass. State Senate Seat

Posted November 3, 2004 at 5:04pm

Joint victory parties work a lot better when both candidates running for office actually win. Fortunately for Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and his chief of staff, Ed Augustus, Tuesday night turned out to be doubly sweet.

After directing McGovern’s staff for six years, Augustus, 39, will step into his new job of representing the people of Worcester, Mass., in the state Senate when he is sworn into office in January. He won the post the same night McGovern captured a fifth term in the House.

Augustus beat out Republican candidate Robi Blute and third-party candidate Jane Burdzel by garnering 61 percent of the vote in the 2nd Worcester district on Tuesday.

After joining the race in August, Blute — the wife of former Rep. Peter Blute (R), whom McGovern ousted in 1996 to take his Congressional seat — earned a place on the ballot through a write-in campaign. The open-seat race was targeted by the state Republican Party, and Blute ended up sending almost a dozen direct-mail drops to constituents in the two months before the election.

But Augustus countered that effort with his strong fundraising and the endorsement of the man he is replacing, Guy Glodis (D), and on Tuesday beat Blute by 28 points, even winning Blute’s home precinct. According to The Associated Press, Augustus earned 39,898 votes to Blute’s 21,510 and Burdzel’s 4,439.

“He racked up an impressive victory against an opponent that was well funded by the state party,” McGovern said of the race. “It’s gratifying for me to see people who have worked in my office go on and fulfill their own dreams and move into prominence in their own right.”

McGovern admitted that on Tuesday night there suddenly was a bit more pressure on him to win his own re-election bid after Augustus found out the results of his race earlier in the evening.

“If I had lost I would have asked him for a job,” McGovern said with a laugh. (That was never really a concern, as McGovern defeated Republican Ron Crews with 71 percent of the vote.)

When Augustus first showed up at the victory celebration after the race had been called, McGovern told his chief of staff and friend “how proud I was of him that he won and ran a good, positive, democratic campaign. … For me, I now have a teammate in the state Legislature that will help me to coordinate projects I want to get involved in.”

After a long night of watching election results with McGovern, Glodis and approximately 1,000 supporters of both campaigns, Augustus said he’s very much relieved.

“Toward the end, I really did want to win awful bad because of the way the campaign had been conducted,” Augustus said. Blute “ran an almost strictly negative campaign, I ran an almost strictly positive campaign. I’m glad the voters picked the positive campaign.”

On Wednesday he was busy accepting congratulations, coordinating media appearances and “figuring out where all these empty beer bottles came from.”

But Augustus also said he had mixed emotions.

“I loved working for Jim and I loved all the people working for him. It’s also bittersweet watching Senator [John] Kerry [D-Mass.] lose” after having worked on his campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, he said.

Augustus plans to continue working in McGovern’s office for the next two months, both to assist in the upcoming lame-duck session and to help with the transition to a new office chief of staff, whom he will help hire.

Both McGovern and Augustus said they think the position will be filled from within the office.