All signs go for Joe

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  February 29, 2012

They are more excited about the North Shore, where former state senator (and Charlie Baker's 2010 running mate) Richard Tisei is off to an impressive fundraising start in his challenge to Congressman John Tierney. He also avoided an ugly primary fight, when 2010 GOP nominee Bill Hudak dropped out. (Hudak then raised eyebrows by announcing his new venture — selling an obscure miracle drug for a Utah company.)

Elsewhere in the state, incumbents appear to be in danger more from other Democrats than from Republicans. Andrea Nuciforo, who has been campaigning since before the 2010 election in anticipation of challenging Olver, is taking on Richard Neal in a dramatically redrawn First Congressional District. And Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter has just launched a challenge to Bill Keating.

Many figured that a strong Republican would have a good chance in that race, where the Ninth District has been significantly redrawn. But no solid GOP candidate has come forward. The same is true in Niki Tsongas's district, where the challenger will likely again be Jon Golnik, who lost badly in 2010.

Until they see some evidence of weakness in Kennedy, establishment Republicans in the state seem ready to shrug off Frank's district. The Kennedy mystique is capable of working both for and against Joe, but for now it's been all to the good.

To read the Talking Politics blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com. Follow him on Twitter @dbernstein.

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