Keating, Perry Win Congressional Primary

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By: Michael C. Bailey
Published: 09/17/10

Two veteran Cape lawmakers, one Democrat and one Republican, entered the race for US Representative for the 10th Congressional District hoping to succeed the retiring Congressman William D. Delahunt (D), but only one of them is moving on to the November 2 general election.

State Representative Jeffrey D. Perry (R – Sandwich) on Tuesday scored a crushing 61 percent-to-31 percent victory over former state treasurer Joseph D. Malone to secure the Republican nomination, and he will now go on to face William R. Keating, Norfolk County’s district attorney, who won a tight race against State Senator Robert A. O’Leary (D – Barnstable).

“It was very humbling victory,” Rep. Perry said of his decisive win, “and I think it’s a testament to running a positive campaign, sticking to the issues, and the team I have in place…my supporters are more energized than ever.”

In a fiery speech to supporters attending his victory party at Plimoth Plantation, Rep. Perry declared he would be “part of a wave sweeping across this country of 39 or more Republicans who’ll remove Nancy Pelosi from the speaker’s chair.” He reiterated his key goals of tackling illegal immigration, rampant government spending, and the federal health care reform effort.

Rep. Perry said he did not plan to tailor his message for the benefit of trying to sway Democrats to his side, noting that internal polling he conducted during the primary revealed that many registered Democrats were already planning to support him in November.

“It feels pretty good to know that people who normally don’t even consider voting for you are planning to support me,” he said.

Rep. Perry added that the same internal polls suggested that Mr. Malone’s increasingly attack-based campaign was having a positive effect on his own campaign.

Mr. Malone, who emerged from an 11-year hiatus from politics to run for the seat, spent the final weeks of the primary campaign hammering Rep. Perry about controversies from his past -- most notably his role in a nearly 20-year-old Wareham Police Department scandal involving an officer under then-Sergeant Perry’s command who conducted illegal strip-searches of teenage girls.

Those same accusations surfaced back in 2002 when Rep. Perry ran for and won his first term in the Legislature, and Rep. Perry followed the same philosophy this year as he did eight years ago of refusing to “run negative,” a tactic he said regularly backfires.

“It is disappointing that my opponent wasted his first opportunity to open up a dialogue with voters,” Rep. Perry said in a statement. “Instead of talking about issues and the principled differences between us, he immediately resorted to negative campaigning and mudslinging.”

In his victory speech Mr. Keating, who relocated to the district specifically to run for Rep. Delahunt’s seat, spoke about his desire to “fix” Washington, sustain Social Security benefits, and reduce government spending, but also implied that he would be revisiting Rep. Perry’s background.

“You stood five steps away as your partner sexually assaulted a young girl,” he said. “If you couldn’t see something so despicable right under your nose, how can we depend on you in Washington?”

“That kind of campaign does nothing to help people or address the concerns they have for themselves and their families,” Rep. Perry said. “I plan to run a positive campaign that people will feel proud to support.”

The GOP has expressed considerable interest in the 10th Congressional District seat and consider it a key race, especially in light of US Senator Scott P. Brown’s (R) success in capturing the US Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy.

Steve Crawford, spokesman for the Keating campaign, said that he “did not agree with the negative campaigning premise,” and said that Rep. Perry himself said that the race would be as much about “values and character…and his actions as a police officer goes to the strength of his character.”

He further noted that Rep. Perry’s victory speech did not touch on what Mr. Keating regards as the critical issues of the race: job creation and economic recovery. “There was no mention of jobs or the economy in his speech,” Mr. Crawford said, “but Bill Keating talked about that extensively, so that’s a big difference between the candidates.”

A statement issued by the National Republican Congressional Committee noted that Sen. Brown’s performance in the district was particularly strong, and history could well repeat itself this November with Rep. Perry capturing a seat long held by a Democrat.

“Brown’s landslide here was no mistake, with voters turning out in droves in hopes of turning the page on Washington’s out-of-touch failed economic experiment,” the NRCC statement read. “After Democrats hit struggling middle-class families with additional taxes and racked up the nation’s debt, voters will not be looking to carry on Delahunt’s tax-and-spend legacy in November.”

Mr. Malone, who did not return phone calls seeking comment on his loss, has so far declined to endorse Rep. Perry’s candidacy.

Rep. Perry performed very well on the Cape, capturing 80 percent of the GOP vote, but also successfully penetrated the voting base in the South Shore part of the district – a feat Sen. O’Leary failed to replicate.

The senator did well on his home turf, earning 72 percent support and taking every Cape and Islands town, but Mr. Keating’s domination of the South Shore put him over the top, but barely; Mr. Keating received 51 percent of the total vote to Sen. O’Leary’s 49 percent.

Mr. Crawford said the campaign was actually braced for a much tighter margin. “Tuesday morning we did some internal polling and we were seeing a margin in the hundreds, not the thousands,” he said.

Sen. O’Leary, who received an 11th-hour endorsement from Rep. Delahunt himself, won only one off-Cape town from Mr. Keating: Duxbury.

“Rob and I had our differences,” Mr. Keating said in his victory speech to supporters at the Sons of Italy Hall in Quincy, “but we share a commitment to the people of this district…Rob ran a spirited campaign, and I’d like to thank him for his service, and tell his supporters that I will work hard to win your trust.”

“During this Congressional race, though many times the focus was on differences, Bill Keating and I agreed on a great number of things, and I’ll be supporting him in November,” Sen. O’Leary said in a statement to supporters and the media. “It’s important that we elect a Congressman who shares our Democratic priorities, and will work across the aisle to serve this district.”

Sen. O’Leary officially endorsed Mr. Keating Wednesday at a campaign event in Hyannis. Rep. Delahunt also threw his support behind Mr. Keating, presenting him with a blue Cape Cod necktie – an item that has become something of a trademark for the departing congressman.

The senator did not lay out any specific plans for next year, when he leaves the state senate, stating only that he would continue working on issues of importance to Cape residents, “and I look forward to many, many more years working together for our communities.”

Republican Robert E. Hayden III of Hanover, a very late entry into the race, scored a narrow third-place finish over Raymond Kasperowicz of Cohasset, the first man to formally declare his candidacy.

Although four candidates are now out of the running, the ballot for November will be almost as full due to three unenrolled candidates also running for the seat: MaryAnne Lewis of Scituate, a former assistant district attorney and four-term state representative; James Sheets of Quincy, the city’s former six-term mayor; and political newcomer Joseph van Nes of Martha’s Vineyard. Both Ms. Lewis and Mr. Sheets are former Democrats.

Wolf, Crocker Advance

For Cape Cod the other major primary race was for Sen. O’Leary’s seat, and Democrat Daniel A. Wolf and Republican James H. Crocker Jr. are now poised to square off in seven weeks.

Mr. Wolf, founder of Cape Air, won a decisive victory over Sheila R. Lyons, a member of the Barnstable County Board of County Commissioners. Mr. Crocker, a Barnstable town councilor, defeated Eric R. Steinhilber, who throughout his campaign scored endorsements from several notable Cape Republicans.

Mr. Wolf captured 65 percent of the vote in the Cape and Islands District, which includes Mashpee, Barnstable, the Mid- and Lower Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Ms. Lyons received 35 percent of the vote. Mr. Wolf won all but one town -- Gosnold, on the Vineyard -- and scored a nearly 100-vote margin of victory in Ms. Lyons’ hometown of Wellfleet.

“We’re clearly happy with the results,” Mr. Wolf said, and he said he spoke to Ms. Lyons after the election to thank her for running a “really great campaign. We both ran really high-end, positive campaigns.”

Sen. O’Leary said he wants Mr. Wolf to succeed him in the state senate “I hope to have Dan Wolf representing me in the Massachusetts Senate,” he said. “He will be a strong advocate for the values and priorities that I’ve tried to advance over the years.”

Mr. Crocker swept every town in the district to claim a solid 68-to-32 percent victory over Mr. Steinhilber, a political newcomer.

Although the national narrative is predicting a Republican resurgence in the 2010 general election, Mr. Wolf said that he planned to stay focused on the issues in the second phase of the race, rather than on partisanship. “This, to me, is not a partisan race. It’s a race about issues,” he said.

Brother Vs. Brother

The race for governor’s councilor of the first district is going to be a family affair as Oliver P. Cipollini Jr. of Marstons Mills and his older brother, Charles O. Cipollini of Fall River won, respectively, the Democratic and Republican nominations.

Charles Cipollini won handily over Joseph A. Ureneck, who claimed Boston as his home town even though the city is not in the first district. Mr. Cipollini received 76 percent of the vote.

Oliver Cipollini, however, had a rougher road to victory. As of Tuesday night a clear winner in the five-way race had yet to be determined, but by Wednesday he had emerged as the victor, receiving 27 percent of the vote.

Walter Moniz of New Bedford and Patricia L. Mosca of Bourne tied for second with 21 percent support each. The other Democratic candidates were Jeffrey T. Gregory of Fall River and Thomas J. Hallahan of Martha’s Vineyard, and they received 17 and 13 percent of the vote respectively.

Carole A. Fiola, who held the post for the past decade, announced this year she would not run for re-election.

Other Cape Races

Incumbent State Representatives Demetrius J. Atsalis (D – Barnstable), Susan D. Williams Gifford (R – Wareham), and Matthew C. Patrick (D – Falmouth) had no opponents in the primary, nor did their respective challengers in the upcoming November election: Republican James F. Munafo Jr., Democrat David A. Smith of Wareham, and Republican David T. Vieira of Falmouth.

Between them Reps Atsalis, Gifford, and Patrick cover most of Barnstable and Bourne,

Senate President Therese M. Murray (D – Plymouth), who district includes Bourne, Falmouth, and Sandwich, will face Republican Thomas F. Keyes of Sandwich. Mr. Keyes is currently deputy speaker on the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates.

Democrat Lance W. Lambros and Republican F. Randal Hunt, both of Sandwich, are running to replace Rep. Perry in the fifth Barnstable district, which covers precincts in Barnstable, Bourne, Mashpee, and all of Sandwich. Mr. Lambros is a former Barnstable County commissioner, and Mr. Hunt is a former Sandwich selectman.

Barnstable County Sheriff James M. Cummings; Michael D. O’Keefe, the Cape and Islands’ district attorney; Barnstable County Commissioner William Doherty; and State Representative Timothy R. Madden (D – Nantucket) are all running unopposed.

Statewide Races

The primary race for governor was mostly a formality for the two party candidates, Governor Deval L. Patrick and Republican Charles D. Baker Jr., who had no primary challengers but had to formally cement their lieutenant governor picks, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray and State Senator Richard R. Tisei (R – Wakefield).

Neither of the lieutenant governor candidates had a formal challenger, but unenrolled candidate Keith Davis of Holyoke waged a virtually invisible and ultimately ineffective write-in campaign, asking voters to write in his name on either the Democratic or Republican ballot.

Unenrolled candidate Timothy P. Cahill, the current state treasurer, and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Dr. Jill E. Stein were not involved in the primaries as their political affiliations are not recognized in Massachusetts as formal parties.

Two men ran write-in campaigns for Massachusetts Attorney General after no formal Republican candidate arose to challenge incumbent Martha Coakley, who many considered vulnerable following her loss in the winter special US Senate election to Scott P. Brown (R).

Somewhat prematurely, James P. McKenna declared himself on Wednesday the official Republican nominee over Guy A. Carbone. “It is Big! I Mean Really Big!” Mr. McKenna crowed on his campaign website. “We didn’t just make it - We Crushed it! Record Breaking - Historical - Indisputable! Will be fun for all of us to watch over next couple of days as Massachusetts media and the Coakley Machine finally discovers it, verifies it, then verifies it again.”

To secure a spot on the ballot as a write-in candidate, Mr. McKenna needed to collect 10,000 votes, and as of 4 PM Wednesday town and city clerks across the state had recorded about 5,000. By Thursday morning, with only 84 towns reporting in, that number had risen to 9,369.

Democrat Steve Grossman, a Somerville businessman, defeated Boston City Council Stephen J. Murphy 61 percent to 39 percent, and will now go on to face State Representative Karyn E. Polito (R – Shrewsbury). Rep. Polito is not running for re-election to her legislative seat, which she has held since 2001. The winner will replace Mr. Cahill.

In the race for state auditor, Democrat Suzanne M. Bump, the state’s former executive secretary of labor and workforce development, and former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority board member Mary Z. Connaughton won their respective races. Joining them on the November ballot will be Green-Rainbow Party candidate Nathanael Fortune of Whately, who made an unsuccessful run for the post in 2006.

Ms. Bump took half the vote in a three-way race, with Worcester County Sheriff Guy W. Glodis and newcomer Michael E. Lake of Boston receiving 31 and 19 percent support Ms. Connaughton easily turned away challenger Kamal Jain in an 87 percent-to-13 percent decision.

The winner of the race will succeed veteran auditor A. Joseph DeNucci, who is retiring.

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