Republican gains in Massachusetts may not stop with Scott Brown. Congressman Bill Delahunt is retiring, creating an open seat in what might be the least Democratic district in the commonwealth. Brown carried the district with over 60 percent of the vote. It was the only district to go for Richard Nixon over George McGovern in 1972. And while Delahunt’s only tough race was a 54 percent to 42 percent win over Republican Ed Teague in 1996, the district might be ready to vote against the Democrats again.
After Teague, Delahunt mainly faced sacrificial lambs. But two strong Republicans are eyeing the race this time. Former State Treasurer Joe Malone told the Boston Herald he will announce on March 21. State Rep. Jeff Perry, a Barnstable Republican with perhaps the most potent political organization on the Cape, is also looking at getting in. Perry is strong enough that he may have even spooked Delahunt.
The Democrats aren’t without options of their own. William Keating became Norfolk County district attorney after Delahunt left to run for Congress. He’d like to follow in Delahunt’s footsteps again. Wealthy businessman and Democratic activist Philip Edmundson is also said to be weighing a run. But the Democrats had a hard time holding the Fifth Congressional District in a much better political climate when Niki Tsongas and Jim Ogonowski faced off in a 2007 special election. The 10th distirct and the current climate could be even more competitive.