The Brown Effect: GOP Challengers in Massachusetts

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Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

In 2008, the Obama-Biden ticket carried Rep. Bill Delahunt’s (D-Mass.) district–which lopes down from Boston across the South Shore of Massachusetts Bay–by 12 points. On Tuesday, Republican Scott Brown carried the district by 20 points. It’s no surprise that Joe Malone, the last Republican to be elected to a downballot statewide office (treasurer, in 1994), is mulling a run for the seat.

While Obama-Biden was the third consecutive Democratic ticket to carry all 10 of Massachusetts’ congressional districts, Brown’s victory over the sleepy Martha Coakley campaign gave him majorities in half of them. But the Massachusetts GOP is still not really in a state to make real challenges. Tellingly, I only saw two candidates on the trail trying to ride Brown’s momentum. The first was Bill Hudak, a vending company owner running against Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) in another district carried by Brown. On paper, he looks impressive–$153,881 raised in the third quarter of 2009 compared to $153,472 for Tierney. But two-thirds of Hudak’s money came from his own pockets. And the second candidate, Rachel Brown, had volunteers handing out flyers for her campaign against Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). A great cause for angry state Republicans. Unfortunately, Brown is a Lyndon LaRouche supporter running as a Democrat.

Another thing I heard on the trail–a few Republican activists were worried that by winning the Senate race, they would rouse Democrats in time for them to rally and hold off a further GOP assault. But even a credible threat to one Democratic seat in Massachusetts would require the party to spend a lot of money earmarked for so-called “swing” seats.

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