What might have been

July 14, 2010
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This week marks the anniversary – the first – of former Mayor Pat McManus’ sudden and untimely death.

This time last year, he had announced his candidacy for mayor.

I, for one, did not believe he had a chance to beat then Mayor Chip Clancy.

Obviously, I was wrong.

Now I know that Pat McManus, had he lived, had he campaigned, had he worked hard, would have won.

Chip was gone last year at this time.

His mayoralty was finished except for the cheering of his stalwarts and loyalists.

He was gone but he tried to put off the final judgment.

In retrospect, Pat McManus would have trumped Chipper that time around.

Chipper had made too many enemies, too many hard decisions that went against too many people.

After serving for so long, the tables had turned on him.

The natives were restless, so to speak.

The voters who elected him time and again, were readying to dump him.

It wasn’t even him, at this point last year.

It was the reality of being a hard driving politician whose time had come.

I’ve written about it before and experienced it before – when a politician’s time has come, there is nothing he or she can do to reverse the sentence.

This is why in retrospect I believe Pat McManus would have won.

His announcement was only sparsely attended.

He didn’t really have much cash to put toward the campaign.

He made a short speech that was vintage McManus – friendly, calm, not very contentious but reminiscent of the man who once served as the mayor of Lynn and who was up for another try.

Chipper by comparison looked strong with many friends and contributors – but the underlying strength he once enjoyed was already heading in another direction.

Then Pat McManus died, shocking his friends and supporters.

His death was a stab in the heart for the people who loved him and who believed in him and who benefited from his time at city hall.

For those people, the pain of his death still remains one year later.

One year later, and they lament among themselves about what might have been.

Indeed, had he not died, Pat McManus would likely be seated inside the city hall office he once dominated directing the future of the city.

Instead, one year later, there is only the remembrance of what might have been.

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