Wednesday, April 11, 2007

And Then There Were Six

Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola has announced today that will not be running for the fifth district Congressional seat being vacated by Marty Meehan (D-Lowell). His stated reason is that he doesn't want to spend so much time away from his family, but that seems like something he should have thought about before he decided to run. After all, he knew all along that if he won, he'd have to commute to Washington. I'm wondering if DiPaola was having trouble raising the gobs of money that some of the other candidates announced in their first quarter. Dick Howe has some must-read analysis of what his departure means. Myself, I had gotten the impression that DiPaola was the furthest candidate to the right on the ideological spectrum except for self-proclaimed Reagan Democrat James Micelli. With him gone, will the left of center vote be fragmented, allowing Micelli to squeak through with a plurality? In a special election, anything can happen.

As of this posting, the remaining Democrats in the race are:

  • Lowell City Councilor & former mayor Eileen Donoghue
  • Representative Jamie Eldridge
  • Representative Barry Finegold
  • Representative James Micelli
  • David O'Brien, member of the DNC and DSC
  • Middlesex Community College Dean Niki Tsongas
On the Republican side, no candidates have officially announced or started raising money, but at least three possible names have been mentioned, Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan, former GOP candidate for this seat Charles McCarthy, and former New England Patriot and current sports talk show co-host and telemarketer Fred Smerlas (who I took note of earlier this month).

Update: The Globe reminds me that DiPaolo had just moved to Lowell so he'd be in the district. It seems to me like he would have worked out his "family reasons" before he did that.