Democrats exiting the sinking ship? Part 27: Rep. Bill Delahunt 

According to the Boston Globe, Massachusetts 10th district Congressman Bill Delahunt has decided he will not seek reelection. He was first elected to the House in 1996 and has won reelection easily ever since.

The Globe story has some interesting information on bills on which Delahunt has worked in a bipartisan manner with Republicans; it also notes his close and friendly ties with Venezuela’s authoritarian ruler Hugo Chavez (and could have added, though didn’t, that Delahunt has had some Republican collaborators in his efforts to avoid conflict between the United States and Venezuela).

Delahunt cited as one reason for retirement his desire to spend more time with an infant granddaughter, and no doubt this played some role in his decision. Also, he is 68, an age at which many people choose to retire. Nonetheless, one suspects that the fact that Republican Senator Scott Brown won 60% of the vote in his district in the January 19 special election helped to inform his thinking. And the fact that as Norfolk County District Attorney some years ago he declined to prosecute Amy Bishop in the shooting death of her teenage brother---yes, that’s the same Amy Bishop who shot and killed three faculty colleagues at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Delahunt said he was confident Democrats would hold the 10th district. Maybe so—but maybe not. The district, which includes some of Boston’s South Shore suburbs, most of Plymouth County and all of Cape Cod plus the islands (Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket) not only voted heavily for Scott Brown but in other elections has been the least heavily Democratic district in Massachusetts—55%-43% for Barack Obama in 2008, only 2% ahead of his national average.

Call it a tossup if you like. But in 2008 and in the five elections preceding it was rated, correctly, as safe Democratic.

Click here to view Michael Barone's 2010 'Sinking Ship' political map

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