Tuesday, March 13, 2007



Martin Meehan (D-MA) has a pretty dependably progressive voting record, not as stellar as Ed Markey's, John Tierney's, Jim McGovern's, Mike Capuano's, Bill Delahunt's or Barney Frank's... but better than most Democrats who aren't from Massachusetts. Looks like Meehan will be the first House member to leave the Democratic majority as he takes the chancellorship of the University of Massachusetts' Lowell campus. He was just re-elected to his eighth term in the solidly Democratic fifth congressional district northwest of Boston. The Republicans didn't bother running anyone against him, although in the past their candidates have managed to get around a third of the vote. Kerry used to represent the district, as did Paul Tsongas, before they were elected to the Senate.

Meehan's ambition to run for the Senate was thwarted when Kerry announced that he would run again in 2008. Meehan has over $5 million in his campaign warchest. His pending career change is no surprise and there are a slew of candidates eager to run for the seat. Among the local Democrats likely to run in the primary-- which is the main attraction in the district-- are State Rep. Jim Miceli, State Rep Barry Finegold, Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola, State Rep. Jamie Eldridge, Lowell Councilwoman Eileen Donoghue, Democratic National Committee member David O'Brien, and a grassroots favorite, Middlesex College dean Niki Tsongas, wife of the late Paul Tsongas. According to CongressDaily "in the abbreviated, crowded Democratic primary, candidates face the dual challenges of mobilizing support in the district's cities and towns and raising enough money to run ads in the costly Boston media market. Finegold said his legislative experience made him 'someone who is ready to go on day one.' DiPaola called himself a 'lunch-bucket Democrat' who believes in fiscal discipline and has good ties with unions. A spokesman for the state's commonwealth secretary said a special election to fill a vacancy must come 145 to 160 days after a resignation was submitted and that party primaries were usually held five weeks before the special general election." Meehan is expected to start his new job July 1.

A couple of Republicans are talking about running too. Better for them to spend their money in a district like MA-05 than somewhere where they can do some damage.

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