As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Congressman William D. Delahunt (D) is not running for re-election this year.
This means the race is officially a free-for-all and it’s anyone’s game. Rep. Delahunt, had he run, would have had the incumbent’s advantage — a combination of money, familiarity, influence in government, and a track record even his critics would agree was generally positive (I won’t say perfect, because perfection doesn’t exist in life, much less in politics).
For the Big Two Parties, the 10th Congressional district is now a key battleground. The Democrats will be desperate to hold onto the seat (they’re still stinging from US Senator Scott P. Brown’s (R) victory), and the Republicans will be eager to claim another federal seat in Blue State Massachusetts.
Both sides are going to be courting voters hard and heavy in the coming months, trying to influence what is a very weighty decision. Voters this year will have to give some serious thought to who they want representing them in Congress during an exceptionally volatile period; whoever gets in will be the New Kid on the Block and will have to work his way up from the mailroom, metaphorically speaking, so the district will need someone who can hit the ground running and isn’t afraid to make some noise.
Right now the choices are State Senator Robert A. O’Leary (D – Barnstable), who confirmed his candidacy last week immediately after Rep. Delahunt’s announcement; Republicans Donald A. Hussey, Ray Kasperowicz, State Representative Jeffrey D. Perry (R – Sandwich), and Joseph D. Malone (who confirmed his candidacy this week after several weeks of hemming and hawing); and unenrolled candidate Peter A. White.
Expect that list to grow, particularly on the Democrat side of things.
On a very related note, as I mentioned above, Sen. O’Leary is now running for US Representative for the 10th Congressional district, which means his state senate seat is now open. To date there is only one definite candidate for the post, Barnstable Republican Eric Steinhilber.
Several names have emerged as possible candidates. Mark D. Forest, Rep. Delahunt’s ever-reliable aide, Daniel Wolf, owner and CEO of Cape Air, and Barnstable County Commissioner Sheila V. Lyons are all considering running.
Paul J. Neidzwiecki, executive director of the Cape Cod Commission, denied rumors he was in the mix. State Representative Sarah K. Peake (D – Provincetown), once mentioned as a possible candidate, is sticking with her state rep post, and Sen. O’Leary’s long-time aide Susan Rohrbach denied she’s running to succeed her boss.
A historical note: Sen. O’Leary was elected to his current post in 2000 during a frenzied special selection process sparked by then-State Senator Henri S. Rauschenbach’s surprise September announcement he would not run for re-election in order to take a job with the state.
Mr. Rauschenbach had already won the primary race, so the Cape Cod Republican Committee was tasked with finding a replacement candidate. That replacement was Edward B. Teague III, a former state representative and – time to start connecting some crazy dots – the man who Rep. Delahunt defeated to win his first term.
Edward D. Lamperti of Eastham was lined up as the Democratic candidate, but he also withdrew. He at first cited an inability to meet the time commitments of the job, but later revealed that Cape Democrats had pressured him to withdraw so they could recruit a more viable candidate: then-county commissioner O’Leary, who had, no foolin’, challenged Mr. Rauschenbach for state senate in 1988.
Bonus fact: when Sen. O’Leary won, he became the first Democrat to hold that senate seat in 140 years.
Also related to this wacky game of political musical chairs: despite some rumors to the contrary, Senate President Therese M. Murray (D – Plymouth) is not running for Congress, and is instead laying the groundwork for a Senate re-election campaign.
“I am humbled by the overwhelming support and encouragement I have received since my name came up as a possible candidate for the Massachusetts 10th Congressional seat,” Sen. Murray said. “My commitment and focus, however, remain on the people of my district and the Massachusetts Senate. I have dedicated my entire career in the state Senate to being a voice for my constituents and making real change on Beacon Hill. That is what I will continue to do.”
Thomas F. Keyes of Sandwich has announced his plans to run for state senator of the Plymouth and Barnstable district, making him the first and so far only potential challenger to Sen. Murray.
And yet another local campaign is off and running (pun intended)!
State Representative Demetrius J. Atsalis (D – Barnstable) held a “Kick the Winter Blues Gathering” campaign fundraiser in Hyannis Monday, to support his bid for a seventh term in office. So far he has only one prospective opponent in Republican James F. Munafo Jr., a Barnstable town councilor.
Oliver P. Cipollini Jr. is taking another shot for governor’s council. The Marstons Mills Democrat challenged incumbent and fellow Dem Carole A. Fiola in 2008 in the primary, and though Mr. Cipollini took the Cape with 44 percent of the vote (he took 13 out of 15 towns), he fell short overall; Ms. Fiola received 67 percent of the vote throughout her district and was unchallenged in the general election.
Ms. Fiola recently announced that she is not running for re-election this year as governor’s councilor of the first district.
Mr. Cipollini is prepping a new campaign website at www.olivercipollini.com, and I’ll let you know when that’s fully up and running.
He joins a small but growing field of candidates. Democrat Walter Moniz of New Bedford made his presence known last week, and this week I received an announcement from Democrat Jeffrey T. Gregory of Fall River, a retired police sergeant, that he too would be running.
A Woburn Republican has thrown his hat in the ring for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. William Campbell filed his paperwork with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, and is at present the only person in line to challenge incumbent William F. Galvin.
Mr. Campbell has a very tough race on his hands. Mr. Galvin does some truly excellent work and his office, which I deal with regularly, is very responsive and helpful. When you do a great job, it’s tough to get kicked out.
I’m on vacation next week, so I’d like to ask all the politicians out there to hold off on doing anything huge until I get back, ‘kay? Thanks.
Political news and announcements may be sent to Michael Bailey, Region editor and senior political reporter, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: 10th Congressional district, 2010 election, Bill Delahunt, Bill Galvin, Demetrius Atsalis, Democratic Party, GOP, Governor's Council - 1st District, Jeff Perry, Massachusetts Legislature, Rob O'Leary, Senate President Therese Murray, State Representative - 2nd Barnstable, State Senate - Cape & Islands, State Senate - Plymouth & Barnstable
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.