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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Game on!

Now we have ourselves a Senate race. Or do we?

With Joe Kennedy's decision to opt out of the race to fill the seat vacated by the death of his uncle, the floodgates should open for a rip-roaring succession battle among politicians itching for a seat that hasn't been vacant in 47 years. Or not.

The last Republican elected statewide -- former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey -- has said no. A Canton selectman has joined the race and Wrentham state senator Scott Brown is thinking about it. Of course his daughter has better name recognition.

The most prominent conservative name in the potential field is a former baseball player who can't run as a Republican.

And to make matters worse, the Republican with the best chance of winning statewide office next year thinks the hoo-hah over the race and need for someone to sit in Washington during the health care debate isn't as important as a new law regulating elderly drivers.

No wonder the Massachusetts Republican Party could hold a convention in a phone booth -- if they could find one.

Many pundits suggest the Democratic race will be wide open -- but the State House News Service (subscription required) reports the potential candidates are talking among themselves to assess their options.

Attorney General Martha Coakley is likely the cream of the field, no matter which of the Washington boys opt in. Ninth District congressman Stephen Lynch will probably climb off the fence, knowing he has the party's right flank likely all to himself.

That leaves a still substantial collection of representatives and one-time congressmen pondering the game: Mike Capuano, Ed Markey, John Tierney and UMass-Lowell Chancellor and former congressman Marty Meehan.

A source told the News Service that some political calculations are percolating:
Excluding Lynch and Tierney from the discussion, the senior Democrat said, "I think there's an acknowledgment at the delegation level … that there's going to need to be one person in the race, or else there's no reason for anybody to be in the race."
But one person is a far cry from half the delegation which has been rumored to be the case for years. For starters, the race would be a distraction to House members who will also have to sit in judgment of health care legislation that would likely be the single most important bill of their tenure.

That would seem to favor Meehan, who gave up his job to move back to Lowell and run the UMass campus there. He's sitting on a substantial campaign war chest kept in reserve for just this eventuality.

But then again, he has a job he would have to quit. Current members would face that decision next year if constituents were upset with their decisions to trade in legislating for campaigning.

My guess is Markey stays put -- too much seniority. Capuano has a history of agonizing over decisions and is too tough to call. Meehan faces a genuine conundrum -- a job he likes versus one he covets. Ultimately I think he goes with his heart and gets in. Tierney? Who?

On the GOP side, I guess the party leaders should only hope a name like Andy Card opts to return home after toiling in DC for many a year for the Bush family. Or maybe not.

Hey, maybe they can convince Bill Weld to come back? Or Myth?

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Blogger Stealth said...

This sure sounds like Capuano is running....

September 08, 2009 11:04 AM  

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