BOSTON — The field of candidates for Massachusetts’ 10th congressional district is taking shape, now that Rep. William Delahunt is stepping down.
Two Democrats and two Republicans so far have announced their intentions to run.
The Democrats are state Sen. Robert O’Leary (Barnstable) and Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating. Among Republicans, state Rep. Jeff Perry (Sandwich) and former state Treasurer Joseph Malone have said they want to run for the seat, which represents Cape Cod and the South Shore.
O’Leary said the race should attract substantial interest from political hopefuls.
“These seats don’t open up often,” O’Leary said. “I expect it’s going to be crowded in both the Democratic and Republican side of the field. There’s no question about that.”
While Malone plans to officially announce his bid later this month, Perry made his announcement months ago. Friday was his first day of campaigning.
“With the news of Congressman Delahunt retiring, this is a very dynamic field that is developing,” said Perry, whose first big fundraiser is Friday night in Hyannis. “I made my decision to run long before knew the congressman was thinking of retiring.”
Perry said Brown’s Senate win this year has encouraged him and fellow Republicans.
“The election of Scott Brown changed the psychology of the Massachusetts voters to now look at both parties and see who’s most in line with their values,” Perry said. “There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Scott Brown’s race. I helped him down here on the Cape, and I saw all that energy, and I saw the political psychology change — not only in the 10th congressional district, but across the state.”
O’Leary told WBUR that all of the candidates will be mindful of Brown’s victory as they start campaigning.
“I don’t think it’s about partisanship, I don’t think it’s about Republicans or Democrats, I think it’s about a lack of confidence in the system,” O’Leary said.
“I think it reflects the fact that no one is happy with what’s happening or not happening in Washington, D.C., and they’re looking for change. They’re looking for new faces, new voices, and people who are going to be responsive to their interests. Those of us who are running are going to have to respond to that.”
Norfolk District Attorney Keating’s office said he plans to announce a run next week so that this week’s focus is on Delahunt.
Other potential candidates are weighing whether to run for Delahunt’s seat, including state Rep. Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy).
State Sen. Bob Hedlund (R-Weymouth), former state Democratic party chairman Phillip Johnston, and former insurance company executive Phillip J. Edmundson have decided not to run.
Hedlund said that while he has too much on his plate to run, the candidate field doesn’t look too competitive yet.
“From the names that have been surfacing so far, there’s no 800-pound gorilla on the Democrats’ side, nor is there one on the Republican side,” he said.
Delahunt has said that politics have nothing to do with his decision to retire from the seat he’s held for seven terms, rather that wants to spend more time with his family. Delahunt has come under fire recently for his handling of the 1986 shooting death of Seth Bishop, when Delahunt was district attorney. The death was ruled accidental, and it was ultimately Delahunt’s decision not to prosecute.