Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
Massachusetts 10th: Rep. Bill Delahunt is retiring.
Primary: September 14, 2010
Location: South shore and Cape Cod.
Days until the election: 37
There's very little about the race for Massachusetts 10th congressional seat that someone paying just the slightest bit of attention to the upcoming midterm elections wouldn't be able to predict: it's an open seat, with longtime Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt retiring; there's a Republican candidate vying for a pick up with a broad, anti-incumbent, anti-Democrat, anti-illegal immigration, anti-Pelosi message (and though this district is probably GOP's best shot in the state for a house pick-up, this is still Massachusetts); and there's a Democrat who is walking the line between appealing to his base and making sure everyone understands that he's "not beholden to anyone" (read: he knows his party isn't winning any popularity contests this cycle.).
Pretty ho-hum stuff. If you want to try to dig up some sparks, you could point to the fact that Republican Sen. Scott Brown took this district with 60 percent of the vote when he ran and won Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat. And you could look back to 1996 when the seat was last open, and Delahunt only won with 54 percent of the vote (in true blue Massachusetts!). And then you could take a look at where the district lies, on the South Shore and Cape Cod and the islands and find some arguable reasons why an anti-incumbent message might resonate here, particularly in an election year that looks so foreboding for Dems.
But a nasty Republican primary yielded some not-so-desirable press for state Senator (and Tea Party-er) Jeffrey Perry, the Republican candidate, when allegations surfaced that he mishandled the investigation of an officer who reported to him when he was a police Sargeant. His subordinate was accused of mishandling the strip searches of two teenage girls. Further complicating the issue is the allegation by parents of one of the girls that Perry observed the strip search. Perry has refuted the allegations, and clearly went on to win the GOP primary despite them, but coverage in the local press (and a steady focus on it by his opponent) may still weigh him down in the general election.
Perry's Democratic opponent, Norfolk county District Attorney William Keating, far outraised his opponent in the Democratic primary and has also outraised Perry, slightly, with over $600,000 raised – a little more than $100,000 over Perry's total. Keating also has slightly more cash on hand as the candidates head in to the heat of the general election.
With more than a month remaining, there is a real game-changer needed for the GOP to make a pick-up here. Short of that, this is Keating's seat to hold on to.