Thursday, June 03, 2010

Barney Frank (D-MA) up for Reelection in 2010 – Throws Gov. Deval Patrick Under the Bus – States “Voters are Angry”

Barney Frank must campaign hard, Sean Bielat one of the 3 stronger candidates who is running for Frank's Seat in the Massachusetts 4th - image The Advocate

From the Boston Herald: Barney Frank is in campaign mode – the 4th District Congressional Representative has been in Congress since 1980 and is directly tied to the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac fiasco. Frank, in an interview with the Herald, opined on the Massachusetts Governors race:

“It’s not bad if you don’t know a job, what’s bad is if you don’t know a job but think you do. I think that was a mistake. Someone who’s very successful in the private sector will often come in and have an overabundance of confidence,” said Frank, who has served in Congress since 1981.
He went on to point out Patrick’s difficult relations with the state Legislature and list his “terrible mistakes,” such as redecorating his office with $12,000 drapes and offering a $175,000 job at an obscure state agency to early supporter Sen. Marian Walsh (D-West Roxbury).
“I think the business that I am in is harder than people think and people who come in at the very top level with no prior experience underestimate the difficulty,” Frank said.

He went on to take a few swipes at both the GOP Candidate, Charlie Baker and gave a backhanded compliment to Democrat turned Independent Candidate, Tim Cahill. Frank did say it was going to be a difficult campaign due to voters’ anger over TARP, but failed to acknowledge voter anger over a myriad of issues including health care reform, the deficit, failure to act on the Gulf Oil spill, the Sestak scandal, and continued high unemployment. The unemployment rate in Frank’s district is particularly high, at over 12% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Commonwealth’s average unemployment rate has remained between 9.2 and 9.5% for the year, starting at 5.6% in January of 2009, according to the Boston Globe.

Frank faces multiple challengers, including a primary challenge from Democrat Rachel Brown, who filed papers on May 27th. In addition, the Republican field includes Earl Sholley who ran against Frank in 2008, taking 70,000 votes in the district – given the fact that Sholley had barely campaigned, this early challenge shows signs of weakness in the incumbent. Sholley will face up-and-coming GOP Star, Sean Bielat in the September primary. Bielat, a Marine (currently serving in the Reserves) and worked for I-Robot corporation, he currently runs a consulting firm. Bielat holds several degrees including a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy school of Government, and a Master of Business Administration for the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania. He also had served as a congressional page, giving him insight into our Congress at an early age. He then joined the Marine Corp.
Bielat’s biography can be found here on YouTube
The winner of both primaries will face off in November. Given the amount of voter angst, it is quite possible that those Democrats going to the primary polls may just pull that lever for Rachael Brown, as incumbents are not enjoying a particularly strong political season.

As Frank Said, he needs to campaign hard, however it may do him little good. Voter anger, coupled with multiple challengers makes Frank a target for retirement. The 4th District will be one of the most interesting races to watch, although polling has only been on an internal basis to date. A source close to one of the campaigns indicated that early internal polling in indicated that Frank was on shaky ground. One would imagine, that the other challengers have taken time and treasure to do the same, regardless of Scott Brown’s win in the district (a sign of trouble for the Democrat Party), the district has always favored Frank, and all politics, as they say, are local.

The Massachusetts State Democrat convention will take place this weekend in Worcester which should be interesting, given the fact that there are over 200 Republican’s running for state and local offices, an historical figure in Massachusetts politics. The last time they met, in 2008, it was a boisterous event, with Clinton the delegate’s favored presidential candidate. It will be of interest to see if the State Democrats can manufacture enthusiasm in the current environment, considering that their “Big Guns” (i.e. the likes of Barney Frank) must actually campaign to try and save their seats.

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