BOSTON. In this heavily-Democratic town supporters of President Obama far outnumber voters who plan to cast their ballots for former Governor Mitt Romney, a fact that has cost Jim “Jimbo” Hampy a fair amount of money this campaign season. “I got to lay a lotta points to get any action going,” he says as he shakes his head. “It makes me kind nervous when time’s running out.”
“What’s he talkin’ about bayonets for?”
And indeed as Hampy looks up at the wide-screen TV in the Kinvarrah, a sports bar in the Dorchester neighborhood, beads of sweat are visible on his forehead from halfway across the room. “If Obama don’t score a touchdown here pretty soon, I’m sunk,” he says disconsolately.
Hampy and many others here last night are plungers who handicap political races the way racing fans in Louisville place bets on the Kentucky Derby the first Saturday in May. “Somebody once said the three favorite pastimes in Boston are politics, sports and revenge,” says T.J. “Tommy” McGillicuddy, who is laying off some of his bets tonight on unsuspecting Bruins fans because of the NHL lockout. “Personally, I think that gives too much credit to minor sports such as box lacrosse and soccer.”
Last night the consensus in most instant polls was that the President scored a narrow victory over his GOP challenger when he needed to hit a home run, so last call finds Hampy opening up his wallet to pay off savvy bettors who “took the points.” “This has been a tough week for me,” he says as he hands over a stack of one-dollar bills to a Young Republican who is nervously eyeing the escape route to his BMW idling outside. “First the Jets take the Pats to overtime, now I got a guy in the White House talking bayonets.”