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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tsongas tsuccess tshortlived?

Congratulations to Niki Tsongas for starting a new chapter in the legacy of the Lowell family that has played an important role in the Merrimack Valley ever since a slight young man with a strange name and some strong ideas was elected to Congress more than 30 years ago.

But I suspect Tsongas may very well be at the top of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee's 2008 hit list after what strikes me as a less-than-overwhelming victory over Dracut farmer Jim Ogonowski.

I haven't followed this race as closely as some, but I am struck by some of the same observations as the Phoenix's David Bernstein.

At the top of the list is the fact that Tsongas' support never seemed to grow between announcement to primary to general election. And with a tepid turnout for a race that had all the markings of a referendum on George Bush, that represents a challenge to both Tsongas and any potential GOP challenger, particularly if Ogonowski tries again.

The brother of the American Air Lines pilot who was at the controls when his aircraft was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center, Ogonowski had a compelling story -- and stances on Iraq, children's health care and immigration that parroted the GOP line.

For someone with those positions to garner 45 percent of a low-turnout vote in the bluest of blue states is somewhat of a moral victory.

Tsongas has a few months to establish an identity separate and apart from her late husband -- to bring home some of that same bacon for which he was famous. If not, I suspect someone like Lowell's Eileen Donoghue might try another primary challenge.

And if Ogonowski opts not to try again, the RNCC will scour the district to find someone who can make a similar dent.

Congratulations Niki. But I would not advise taking out a really long-term lease in Washington just yet.

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Blogger sco said...

I wouldn't worry about the NRCC too much. Yes, Tsongas' victory was underwhelming by Massachusetts standards, but the NRCC has bigger problems to worry about at this point than Tsongas. They reported only $1.59 million in cash-on-hand compared to the DCCC's $21 million. They'll be spending their resources in the south and other GOP friendly areas where the presidential race will be a drag on the Democratic candidate, not here in the Northeast where the Democratic presidential candidate is more likely to have coat-tails.

October 17, 2007 9:15 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

I truly hope you're right. And I truly hope she succeeds in staking out a solid record for herself. She was clearly the better choice between two people who were running on their familiar names. But she will need to demonstrate she is her own person -- and quickly.

October 17, 2007 7:41 PM  

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