Six for the seat

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  September 16, 2009

cap

CONGRESSMAN MICHAEL CAPUANO (D)
DECLARED? No, but declared that he'll declare
Capuano's résumé is more impressive than some may realize. As mayor of Somerville for nine years, he ran a clean and effective administration in one of the Commonwealth's most notoriously corrupt cities. He then surprised the political odds makers by winning the wide-open election for US Congress in 1998, and has since become one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's top lieutenants.

The 1998 race proved Capuano's campaigning skills, as he maneuvered to amass 23 percent of the votes — enough to top the 10-candidate primary scrum. Then, as now, he was seeking an historic seat: that district had been previously represented by Tip O'Neill and Joseph Kennedy II.

But Capuano, 57, is not well-known statewide. And he has never been a great fundraiser (although, running virtually unopposed since 1998, he has never needed to be). Still, he starts with more than $1 million in his war chest, and lots of strong allies in his corner — possibly including Joe and others in the Kennedy family. Rumor has it that, if Capuano emerges victorious, one of Joe's sons might run for Capuano's vacated congressional seat.

HE'S NO TED KENNEDY, BUT . . . he's liberal, he knows how to amass power in DC, and he might have some Kennedys stumping for him.
HOW HE WINS He finds the coalition to repeat what he did 11 years ago.
HOW HE LOSES He doesn't sell well outside his liberal district.

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