Man, have things gotten wacky over the past couple of weeks.
The man at the center of this big ball of crazy is Congressman William D. Delahunt (D), who is expected to announce this month whether he will run for re-election. There’s been a lot of idle speculation that an eighth term isn’t in the cards, and that speculation intensified last week in light of several news stories detailing $560,000 in campaign spending in 2009, a lot of it on things only somewhat related to actual campaigning (like expensive meals and fees to relatives in his employ).
The theory is that Rep. Delahunt is spending down his financial reserves, and we’ll soon all know whether that theory is true.
On paper, there’s a small army of Democrats waiting for Rep. Delahunt to withdraw so the Great Cape Cod Political Shuffle can begin. One scenario has State Senator Robert A. O’Leary (D – Barnstable) running to replace Delahunt and State Representative Sarah K. Peake (D – Provincetown) running to replace Sen. O’Leary.
Sen. O’Leary, by the way, has confirmed he would take a shot at Congress should Rep. Delahunt retire.
Ah, but this game of musical chairs might not be so simple. Scuttlebutt is that William Keating, who is officially a candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General, will abandon that race and instead run for representative of the 10th Congressional district. Folks have been wondering about Keating’s plans since fellow Democrat Martha Coakley, following her botched US Senate bid, decided to run for reelection as AG.
If Delahunt goes bye-bye, it’d give Keating someplace safe to go — meaning, a race that doesn’t pit him against an incumbent from the same party. And, as a bonus, he wouldn’t have to face Joseph P. Kennedy III, grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy, who this week officially denied rumors that he’d run for Congress if Rep. Delahunt retired.
There’s still a rumor floating around that Senate President Therese M. Murray (D – Plymouth) could also throw her hat in, but she’s said nothing herself to suggest this.
Another word on Sen. O’Leary’s seat. Last week I mentioned that he did not have a prospective challenger. Well, it appears that he in fact does: a gent named Eric Steinhilber, who kicked off his campaign last weekend with an event in Hyannis.
Apparently Mr. Steinhilber has been planning this for a while — the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance indicated his paperwork was filed last year — but he’s not done a spectacular job about getting his name out there. Better rectify that double-quick, m’man.
Although he’s a Barnstable native, Mr. Steinhilber is a former Arlington resident who, in 2004, ran unsuccessfully for state representative of the 26th Middlesex district. He may be familiar to some folks in his capacity as development director for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound (gee, can’t imagine THAT coming up at all during the campaign).
Look for a full introductory feature in the Barnstable and Mashpee Enterprises.
It took a while, but it looks like the political scene at the county level is starting to come to life.
I mentioned last week that James M. Cummings, Barnstable County sheriff, was going to be running for re-election, and now we can add County Commissioner William Doherty to the list of county officials aiming for another go-round.
The ever-amiable Mr. Doherty is currently gathering signatures on his nomination papers for what will be his second re-election bid. He’s a fun guy to chat with, so take advantage of it if you see him.
Interest in the state treasurer’s post continues to increase. Democrat Stephen Murphy, a Boston city councilor, has entered the race, and word is that State Representative Karyn Polito (R – Shrewsbury) has pulled papers for that race and will be leaving the Legislature. Mr. Murphy has an official Facebook campaign page, but neither have a formal campaign website.
Carole A. Fiola, who has served as governor’s councilor for the first district for the past 10 years, announced this week she will not seek reelection to a sixth term.
Ms. Fiola said in a statement to the media that “serving 10 years in this office will be enough for me. I have never intended to spend my lifetime in this position and it is important to continually evaluate your life’s endeavors.”
The governor’s council is responsible for approving gubernatorial appointments to the courts, and weighs in on payments from the state treasury and on court-issued pardons. The first district includes 48 municipalities in southeastern Massachusetts, including the Cape and Islands.
Walter Moniz, a New Bedford businessman and former mayoral aide, is seeking to replace Ms. Fiola, a fellow Democrat.
Last call for F. Randal Hunt’s campaign kickoff event! The Sandwich Republican officially launches his campaign for state representative of the fifth Barnstable district on Tuesday. That’s at the Sandwich Hollows Golf Course from 5 PM to 7 PM. The guy he’s hoping to succeed, State Representative Jeffrey D. Perry (R – Sandwich), is the guest speaker.
All right, looks like it’s time for my traditional election year spiel about “independent” candidates.
Here in Massachusetts, we have three recognized political parties (Democrat, Republican, Libertarian) and 18 political designations. The sole perk of being a party rather than a designation: a formal “party” gets to hold primary races to determine which candidate will be on the general election ballot, a “designation” does not.
How does one become a formal party? If a given political organization receives three percent of the total vote cast in a biennial statewide election in which a member of said organization is a candidate for a federal (President, US Senate, Congress) or statewide constitutional seat (governor, attorney general, etc.), that organization is granted full-fledged “political party” status. Any that do not meet the three percent threshold are “political designations.”
There is no party or designation in Massachusetts called simply “The Independent Party.” The closest we come in this state is a political designation is called the “American Independent Party.”
The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office refers to any candidate who does not belong to a recognized party or designation as “unenrolled.” Sometimes it’ll use “non-party” but “unenrolled” is the official term it uses to avoid confusing a self-proclaimed “independent” (not capitalized) with any kind of Independent (capitalized) party.
All clear? Cool, then let me confuse things: even if a political organization is officially a “designation,” it’ll almost always be referred to as a party because they almost always use “party” as part of their name, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually a party. Got it?
Politics is hard. Let’s go shopping…
In closing, here’s an entry for the “What’s could possibly go wrong?” file: last month State Representative Ellen Story (D – Amherst), in an interview with the State House News, said, “I can’t think of a single rep who is going to lose their seat” due to growing anti-incumbent sentiments in Massachusetts.
Someone remind me to revisit this quote in November so we can see how far off this prediction is.
Political news and announcements may be sent to Michael Bailey, Region editor and senior political reporter, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.