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Gearing Up For Next Year's Election

Gearing Up For Next Year's ElectionWhile Massachusetts Democrats are stashing money for their re-election bids next year, Tufts political science professor Jeffrey Berry says that Republican challengers pose little threat.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [11.14.05] While the dust hasn’t fully settled from Election Day 2005, candidates running in next November’s state election are already hard at work. While Massachusetts Democrats have squirreled away millions for their campaigns, a Tufts political science expert says the state’s Republican Party isn’t likely to pose any threats until it fixes its “minor league system.”

“None of the incumbents are in the slightest bit of danger,” Tufts political science professor Jeffrey Berry said in an interview with the Associated Press.

According to the news service, Massachusetts Democrats have raised more than $20.9 million in campaign funds. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, with $7.7 million, has the most money stashed away, but Reps. Martin Meehan (D-Lowell), Edward Markey (D-Malden), William Delahunt (D-Quincy), and Richard Neal (D-Springfield) are not far behind -- each has more than $1 million saved up for his campaign, the AP reported.

Berry explained to the AP that in order for Republican candidates to truly challenge House incumbents, they must raise at least $1 million each.

“It’s a bit of a suicide mission,” Berry told the AP, citing a statistic that speaks for itself: nationwide, incumbents are re-elected more than 95 percent of the time.

Berry also explained to the AP that Republicans in the state don’t have many experienced candidates waiting in the wings to take over seats currently held by Democrats.

“The Republican Party of Massachusetts has not developed a very good minor league system, so there’s not a stable of attractive candidates ready to move up,” he told the AP.

With a year to go before voters cast their ballots, Republicans are confident they will put up a fight.

“It’s not a problem for us at all,” Massachusetts Republican Party Executive Director Matt Wylie assured the AP. “We expect to field a full slate of strong candidates.”

But Berry isn’t convinced.

“[The Democrats] all have safe seats,” Berry told the AP. “This year they are safer than ever.”














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