Liberal Massachusetts congressman Bill Delahunt may be announcing his retirement from Congress now, but this race ended on January 19. That’s when Scott Brown carried the 10th congressional district with 61 percent of the vote, winning in nearly every town — including the capital of Camelot, Hyannisport.
If Delahunt dreamed of clinging to his congressional seat after that, those hopes were dashed by the nightmare of the Amy Bishop shooting scandal, which broke a few weeks later. And in a way, it’s a fitting end to a forgettable career.
Bill Delahunt entered Congress under a cloud and he’s leaving amid scandal.
He was not exactly known for doing much heavy lifting. The AP reported the following when Delahunt announced his candidacy: “News reports about his campaign finances revealed that he has vacationed at Hedonism II, an adult-oriented resort in Jamaica.”
His 1996 “victory” in the Democratic primary was the original hanging-chad story. In a very close primary, the first two vote counts went to prominent Democrat Phil Johnson. But a judge with ties to the Delahunt campaign reversed those vote counts and declared Delahunt the winner.
As a congressman, he “represented the ‘hack’ wing of the Massachusetts Democratic party,” says longtime GOP consultant Charlie Manning. “If he’s done anything of note, I can’t think of it, other than hanging out with third-world thugs.” The Wall Street Journal called Delahunt a “Venezuelan subsidiary in Congress.”
Well, there was that one shining moment for Delahunt when, during a televised grilling of Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington, Delahunt hoped aloud that al-Qaeda was getting a good look at the man. “Well, I’m sure they [al-Qaeda] are watching, and I’m glad they finally have the chance to see you, Mr. Addington.”
What a classy guy.
And now his mishandling of a shooting/potential murder in 1986 as a DA has brought Delahunt’s career to an end. Like every congressional seat in Massachusetts, it’s likely to remain Democratic, but there aren’t any terrific candidates stepping up as of yet. Perhaps the strongest of the Democratic field is current Norfolk County DA William Keating, who is making a name for himself trying to clean up the Bishop shooting mess.
Meanwhile, the Republicans have several solid candidates, including former state treasurer Joe Malone. Extremely affable and outgoing, Malone has the advantage of having won statewide, and he’s a regular on the local Fox TV morning news show. However, the candidate with the Scott Brown vibe is state representative Jeff Perry. He is a more mainstream conservative, and he already has a strong local organization.
According to media reports, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer were pressing Delahunt to run for one more term, fearful they would lose the seat without him. In fact, making Democrats defend the inept and arrogant Delahunt would have been a gift to the Massachusetts GOP.
But it’s a gift we in the Bay State will happily live without.