BOSTON — Unforeseen public health and safety crises generated a great deal of public scrutiny and interest in 2012, but neither could beat out the campaign-year story lines of Mitt Romney running for president and Elizabeth Warren’s successful quest to knock off Sen. Scott Brown.
Warren’s victory over Brown to become the first woman elected from Massachusetts to the U.S. Senate easily captured political story of the year honors on ballots cast by the reporters who spend their days toiling under the Golden Dome chronicling Massachusetts politics and government.
But there were no shortage of other events demanding ink and Web space to keep reporters busy in 2012.
The ongoing investigation by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz into Massachusetts Probation Department patronage, the financial woes of the MBTA that forced fare hikes and legislative bailout, and the debate over a “three-strikes” sentencing reform law all earned votes, but failed to crack this year’s top 10 list.
Hurricane Sandy, persistent economic woes that have ripped open another mid-year budget hole, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s lengthy illness also pinged on the radars of the State House press corps. So did the election results, in general, that saw Democrats increase their numbers in the state House of Representatives and U.S. Rep. John Tierney narrowly hold on to his seat in Congress.
The following is the top 10 list of 2012 political stories, as ranked by Massachusetts state government reporters and scored based on cumulative points:
1) Warren beats Brown (94)
2) Romney Loses Again (76)
3) Dookhan Drug Lab Crisis (74)
4) Meningitis Outbreak Traced to Local Pharmacy (52)
5) Health Care Payment Reform Law Passes (33)
6) Tim Cahill Goes To Trial (28)
7) Kerry Nominated for Secretary of State (26)
8) Patrick’s Rising National Profile (26)
9) Medical Marijuana Approved (21)
10) Casino Startup Efforts (20)
COUNTING DOWN THE TOP 10:
10) BRING CASINOS TO MASS. PROVES TRICKIER THAN EXPECTED