Friday, April 27, 2007

O'Brien Out of MA-05 Race

I just got word that Concord resident David O'Brien has decided not to run to replace Congressman Marty Meehan (D-Lowell) in the upcoming special election. I spoke to O'Brien in March and thought he would have served the fifth district admirably if elected. He was, however, well behind the other candidates in fundraising, name recognition, and organization, so I'm not surprised that he's decided to call it quits. His decision leaves a field of five Democrats including State Reps Jamie Eldridge, Barry Finegold, and James Micelli, Lowell City Councilor Eileen Donoghue and Middlesex County Community College Dean Niki Tsongas.

Here's O'Brien's statement in full:

The past month has been one of the most exciting times of my life. I have enjoyed touring every town in the district, meeting and talking with voters, and learning their concerns.

Everywhere I went people responded enthusiastically to my message of bringing real change to Washington. Unfortunately, the dynamics of this special election race made it very difficult for a non-elected first-time congressional candidate without personal financial resources to compete. Therefore, after much thought and discussion with my family and campaign team, I have come to the decision that I will not be a candidate for Congress in this special election.

I appreciate the support I have received from countless friends and citizens. I look forward to continuing my life’s dedication to serving my community and country. I have been fortunate and proud to have worked alongside such great public servants as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, and Ted Kennedy. I plan to continue my activism on behalf of the Democratic Party both as a member of the Democratic National and State Committees.
In other MA-05 news, two Republicans who had previously expressed interest in the race, former NFL player Fred Smerlas and Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan have both announced they won't run either, clearing the Republican field for Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James Ogonowski.

Update: Team Tsongas just sent me their statement on O'Brien's departure:
David is a tremendous asset to the 5th Congressional District and has been a tireless advocate for issues of concern to residents in the Merrimack Valley, particularly his work to provide affordable housing in Lowell. He and I shared a sense of how we have to build our campaigns from the grassroots where people live and deal with everyday challenges like having access to affordable health care. I’m sorry to hear that he will no longer be a candidate in the race for Congress in the 5th District, but I am confident that we will all continue to benefit from his dedicated party activism at the local, state and national levels.