Congressman William Delahunt announced that he will not seek reelection. According to the veteran Massachusetts lawmaker, recently returned from an extended trip to the Middle East, it's because he wants to spend more time with his infant granddaughter.
"It's got nothing to do with politics," the Quincy Democrat said today. "Life is about change. I think it's healthy. It's time."
A few days ago it was noted that Delahunt appeared to be spending down his war chest so this announcement was not unexpected. While his seat has generally been considered a safe retention for Democrats in November two recent factors have put that conventional political wisdom into some doubt. Not only did Delahunt's district break strongly for Scott Brown in the special Senate election but in recent weeks Delahunt found himself at the center of a surprising controversy. In 1986 when Delahunt was a District Attorney his office decided not to prosecute accused University of Alabama Huntsville shooter Amy Bishop for the shooting of her brother. Bishop had killed him with a pump action shotgun and was apprehended at gunpoint some distance away from the scene by Braintree police after she had pointed the shotgun at workers at a dealership in an attempt to obtain a getaway car. That information somehow never made it into the Massachusetts state police file when the case was handed over to them. The current District Attorney is conducting an investigation into how the 1986 case was mishandled. Jason Tuohy in the Boston Globe:
Delahunt's retirement is the 17th among House Democrats, and the third among lawmakers with close ties to Kennedy. Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and a close Kennedy friend, announced his retirement in January; Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy, the late senator's son, followed suit last month.
In addition, when questioned about running should Delahunt retire, Joseph P. Kennedy III recently announced that he wasn't interested in running for office at this time.