Scott Brown, Mitt Romney Stump for Jeff Perry in MA-10

Posted: Nov 02, 2010 4:09 PM
Despite all the (deserved) attention the Frank/Bielat race has generated in MA-04, it's the Bay State's 10th Congressional District that offers the lowest-hanging fruit for Republicans to pluck.  Down the home stretch, two of Massachusetts' biggest GOP heavyweights campaigned alongside Jeff Perry, who's angling to snag Rep. Bill Delahunt's open seat:

“I need someone who can work with me to make a difference’’ in Washington, Brown said to an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred supporters at an Elks Club ballroom in Hyannis. “Things are broken there.’’

Romney stumped last night for Perry, a state representative from Sandwich, at a Quincy rally, praising Perry’s “extraordinarily’’ conservative credentials, calling him “a terrific guy’’ who, as a state lawmaker, “did what he thought was right.’’

That's interesting praise from Romney, considering that Perry was one of only two Republicans in the state senate to oppose the former Governor's infamous universal healthcare proposal in 2006.

Scott Brown won MA-10 in January, carrying 60 percent of the vote.  Perry is certainly several steps to the right of Brown, but so is the district, in some respects.  This race is extremely close because it's an open seat, vacated by a Democrat, in a reddish section of a blue state.  Perry's opponent, Norfolk County District Attorney Bill Keating (who lives outside the district), has run a vitriolic, personal, scorched-earth campaign.  When I visited the district last month, Perry laid out a striking dichotomy in the race:  His campaign has run 100 percent positive TV, radio, and print advertising.  Keating's paid media, conversely, was 100 percent negative.

Some GOP insiders I've spoken to -- both in Massachusetts and DC -- are bearish on this race.  I've heard suggestions that Keating's attacks hit home, and that Perry's refusal to respond in kind may have cost him.  Perry rejected that notion.  "I followed the same course in the primary," he told me.  "I was counseled then and now to punch back and go negative, but that's just not what I do.  I'll defend myself and I'll highlight issues, but I'm not going to build my campaign up by tearing someone else down on character issues.  Period."

Perry pointed out that his primary lead over a favored establishment pick grew each time his opponent hit below the belt.  He's hoping his admirably restrained and high-minded approach will be vindicated tonight once all the votes are counted.  This isn't one of my predicted GOP pick-ups, but it's definitely feasible.  If Perry ends up winning, it could be sure sign of a super-wavetastic evening for Republicans.

UPDATE -- From MA-04: A Bielat aide emails me to report "very high" turnout across the district, which "favors us."  Also mentions that WHDH-TV (Boston's NBC affiliate) is reporting that Barney Frank's camp is "worried."