Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who's the Most Endangered Democrat in Massachusetts?

Sadly, it's not Barney Frank, who will no doubt have to be carried out in a box. Howie Carr thinks William Delahunt is one Congressional Democrat in the greatest jeopardy of being swept out of office in November.
Bill Delahunt, come on down!

The only question is, does he permanently adjourn to Hedonism II now, or in 2012?

It’s like a logging forest out there for congressional Democrats these days. Timber! First Chris Dodd falls, then Patches Kennedy, not to mention a whole host of lesser-known Beltway banditos. They’re all retiring due to ill health - the voters are sick of them. The question now is the same one they ask at the deli counter. Who's next?

Consider why Delahunt might want to call it a career. First, he’s already got a state pension - $58,343.76 a year. He’s also vested for a congressional kiss in the mail, probably at least another $90,000. He turns 69 in July, so he’s still young enough to cash in on his career in, ahem, public service, as well as finding time to fact-find at those clothing-optional Jamaican beaches he so enjoys.

On the other hand . . . first of all, there’s a congressional redistricting coming up. Massachusetts may be losing a seat. Redistricting is all about carving, and it would be immensely easier if there’s a solon who is retiring and whose district no one would miss.

And if Delahunt runs, and loses, which certainly seems possible, then who better to gerrymander out of Congress in two years than the cheeky Republican who knocks him off?
Well, it appears Delahunt may not even have any fight left.
US Representative William Delahunt said yesterday that he is considering retiring from his congressional seat representing the South Shore and Cape Cod, although he portrayed his deliberations as routine and said they are not related to challenges from Republicans who are energized by Scott Brown’s upset victory in last month’s special Senate election.

“Every election cycle, I take my time, I think it through, and I think, not about whether I can win or lose, but: ‘Am I in a position to make a difference?’ ’’ Delahunt, a Quincy Dem ocrat, said in a telephone interview. “Can I achieve what I want to achieve outside of public life?’’

Delahunt, who has not faced a serious challenge since he was elected in 1996, has a campaign war chest of more than $600,000 but has not been aggressively raising money this year, according to federal records. He said he will announce in March whether he will seek reelection.

If he departs, it would signal a continued shift in New England’s political landscape after the Republican Brown stunned Democrats when he won the seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy. Kennedy’s son, Patrick, said yesterday that he will be quitting his US House seat in Rhode Island.

“I have held elected office for almost 40 years,’’ said Delahunt, a former prosecutor. “I understand that there is always an ebb and flow. Today you are up and tomorrow you are down. That is the rhythm of political life.’’

Delahunt has held office so long that Democratic strategists said it is not clear who in his party might seek the seat if he were to retire. Some have floated the name of Therese Murray, president of the Massachusetts State Senate, who is from Plymouth. But she has recently indicated that she believes Delahunt will run and win.

Still, several Republicans see a chance to recapture one of the state’s conservative districts, where Brown received some of his highest margins of victory on Jan. 19. And they have seized on an unlikely issue: Venezuela. Or, more specifically, Delahunt’s good relations with Hugo Ch├ívez, president of Venezuela, who once called President Bush “the devil’’ in a speech at the United Nations.
Remarkably, the Globe goes on to portray Chavez in a positive light, something they'd never do for a Republican.

Update: Delahunt may really be having problems now.

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