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INTERVIEW: Sean Bielat Says He’ll Make 2012 Campaign Decision ‘Next Week’
The Other McCain ^ | November 1, 2011 | Robert Stacy McCain

Posted on 12/01/2011 11:34:53 PM PST by MitchellC

In 2010, Republican Sean Bielat gave Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank the toughest re-election challenge the Democrat had ever experienced. Although Bielat’s insurgent Tea Party-backed campaign fell short of unseating Frank, it was obviously a factor in the 16-term congressman’s decision this week to retire at the end of his current term, rather than seek re-election in a newly redrawn district. Thursday night, Bielat spoke to me in a brief telephone interview.

Robert Stacy McCain: So, this is the week of ‘Bye Bye Barney.’ How are you feeling right now?

Sean Bielat: [Laughs.] Well, you know, if you would have asked me a year ago at this time, I would have said that this was exactly what was going to happen. And then, you know, when he came out February and said, ‘I’m definitely running . . . definitely going to be back in this thing,’ I took it with a grain of salt, but I believed it. So he definitely caught me off-guard [by announcing his retirement Monday].

RSM: He’s saying that it’s mainly about the re-districting. Have you taken a good look at that map?

BIELAT: Yeah, I have. It is a much better district.

RSM: You mean, for a Republican?

BIELAT: Yeah. It’s still overwhelmingly Democrat, but it’s a much better district than before. But implicit in that comment – ‘it’s because of re-districting’ – is the fact that he thinks he’s going to have a competitive opponent, right? Because he’s been re-districted before and not retired. The difference is, he had a challenge last time. Now it’s a new district and I think he just wasn’t sure he’d make it through and it wasn’t worth the effort.

RSM: OK. And are you taking a victory lap? I mean, do you believe that your challenge last year convinced him that it was time to pack it in?

BIELAT: I’m also taking that with a grain of salt. I don’t think he would have retired if I hadn’t run against him, but I also don’t think he’s retiring because I did. He, on Election Day [in 2010], thought he was going to lose. We were told that by a number of the reporters who were following him and who were in his van – they thought they were going to lose. And you saw he put a couple hundred thousand dollars of his own money it, you know. I don’t think he enjoyed this experience. He hadn’t really done this since 1982. I don’t think he enjoyed the eight debates. I think he was worn out. And I think he didn’t want to do it again, particularly if the district was going to be more favorable to his opponent.

RSM: And is there a chance that that opponent might be you?

BIELAT: [Laughs.] Well, there’s no chance it will be me against Barney, but there’s definitely a chance that it will be me against whatever Democrat they’re going to put up in the Fourth [District]. I’m looking very hard at it. Poltically, I think it makes a lot of sense. We’re just trying to figure out personally if it’s what we want right now, with the new baby and the other 15-month-old and, you know, the sacrifices involved in running. But I’m definitely very interested in it.

RSM: You’ve got two children?

BIELAT: Yeah, we just had the second one about two-and-a-half weeks ago.

RSM: Wow. And I understand that you were spending some time in Pennsylvania and some people were trying to lay the ‘carpetbagger’ thing on you.

BIELAT: Yeah, I think it’s tough to do when we only came [to Pennysylvania] in September and the reason I came was because we had family in the area and we had some difficulties the last time around, with the last pregnancy. So we wanted to be here in case that happened again. We’re planning to go back [to Massachusetts] after the holidays. Hope is still a student at Boston University. She took the semester off. She’ll be back in the spring semester. . . . It’s just the circumstance – we wanted to be near family because of the baby.

RSM: OK, and last time around, the Internet fundraising and the support of New Media seemed to really kick your campaign into high gear.

BIELAT: Oh, without a doubt. I mean, one of the most important people for me to get back on the team is [New Media consultant] John La Rosa. I mean, our money came from online. Fox News was huge, too. Every time we went on Fox News, the money would come in, too. But it was because the groundwork was there, because went on the blogs. It was all over the Internet – the Tweets were out there, and Facebook was useful as well. So it was huge, and then there was the ‘Dancing Barney’ video [by filmmaker Ladd Ehlinger Jr.] and the incident with [Barney Frank’s] significant other, where he was heckling me – that was huge. I can’t tell you how many people came up to me about that, or said, ‘I sent you a contribution after I saw that.’ That wouldn’t have gotten out there without the New Media channels.

RSM: So that really made a difference. What would be the timetable, if you did decide to run? When would you be thinking about putting something together again?

BIELAT: I want to make a decision next week. You know there’s a number of other Republicans who are calling me to find out my plans, because if I’m not getting in, they may want to get in. So I certainly don’t want to slow them down and, you know, I don’t want to be in limbo myself. If I end up not doing this, I’m going to be working on the [political action committee] – I’d like to kick that off and start doing some good there. So I want to make this decision fairly soon.

RSM: OK, so you say, within a week?

BIELAT: Yeah. That’s the plan.

RSM: Wow. OK, then. So if we’re going to be scrambling the jets, we’re going to be scrambling the jets in a pretty quick hurry here.

BIELAT: Yeah. I mean, if I’m going to get in, I want to raise money this quarter. And if I’m going to raise money in December, when the holidays are coming up, I’ve got to do it right at the beginning. So that means making my decision right away.


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: barneyfrank; bielat; seanbielat

1 posted on 12/01/2011 11:35:01 PM PST by MitchellC
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To: fieldmarshaldj; Impy; Clintonfatigued; AuH2ORepublican; Crichton; randita; InterceptPoint

How long of a long shot?


2 posted on 12/01/2011 11:40:51 PM PST by MitchellC (Of course I support Herman Cain. I'm a conservative.)
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To: MitchellC

He would make a good candidate. He almost knocked out Barney’s Frank in a district custom tailored for him. Now the district is far more Republican. Since he has good name recognition, he should do alright.

I hear they are going to try and jam another Kennedy in there on the Rat side. I think folks have had enough of them since Teddy died.


3 posted on 12/02/2011 12:01:57 AM PST by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: MitchellC

I bet Barney was told to leave before the 2012 election. They probably told him he was done.


4 posted on 12/02/2011 12:19:16 AM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: MitchellC

If anyone wants to know some interesting info about “The Other McCain. Drop me a message via private message. I’ve got a few things to tell.

Thanks,

-DR


5 posted on 12/02/2011 1:40:41 AM PST by DetroitRight
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To: MitchellC; fieldmarshaldj; Impy; Clintonfatigued; GOPsterinMA; BillyBoy; randita; InterceptPoint; ..

In the old MA-04, President Bush got 33% in 2004, McCain got 35% in 2008 and Scott Brown got 50%-51% in 2010. Under the new lines, I read that Bush and McCain got 38% and 39%, respectively (IIRC) in 2004 and 2008, and that Scott Brown got around 55% in 2010. Since the new MA-04 is around 5% less Democrat than before, we can estimate that Frank’s 53%-43% victory over Bielat from 2010 would become a 48%-48% dead heat. And, of course, it won’t be Barney Frank running this time, which cuts in both directions, but in a slightly Dem-leaning district I’d rather run against someone who doesn’t have 100% name ID and hasn’t been bringing pork into the region for three decades.

So this race should be competitive, and will depend in great measure on (i) who the Dem and GOP candidates are and (ii) how much buyers remorse voters in the district have regarding Obama. Bielat is probably our strongest candidate given the skills he showed in 2010, and he should be helped by Scott Brown being on the ballot; and Bielat is one of the few Republican congressional candidates nationwide who would probably benefit from Mitt Romney being the GOP presidential nominee (which, even with Newt’s recent rise, still has at least 50% probability of occurring).

So I think we’ve got a real chance of winning. While it is true that, since 2002, and excluding Cao’s fluke win against an indicted Bill Jefferson in LA-02 in a 2008 run-off, the most Democratic CDs to elect a Republican to Congress were about 6% more Republican (based on the 2004 presidential vote) than the redrawn MA-04 (Leach’s IA-02 and Simmons’s CT-02 in 2002 and 2004), I think that the MA-04 isn’t quite as Democrat as Bush-Kerry numbers would lead one to believe and, for once, the trend is our friend is Massachusetts.


6 posted on 12/02/2011 2:33:00 AM PST by AuH2ORepublican (If a politician won't protect innocent babies, what makes you think that he'll protect your rights?)
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To: MitchellC
At the very least, it would be good to have one less proud, arrogant PERVERT in Congress.
7 posted on 12/02/2011 4:28:46 AM PST by PoloSec ( Believe the Gospel: how that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again)
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To: AuH2ORepublican

Gold-GOP,
you got the info. You never revealed what state you live in on your profile page. Are you MASS?


8 posted on 12/02/2011 6:20:57 AM PST by campaignPete R-CT (I will go back to New Hampshire to campaign.)
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To: campaignPete R-CT

I live in Puerto Rico, not Massachusetts. So, no, I won’t be able to join you campaigning door-to-door in Bielat’s district.


9 posted on 12/02/2011 7:31:06 AM PST by AuH2ORepublican (If a politician won't protect innocent babies, what makes you think that he'll protect your rights?)
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To: AuH2ORepublican

LOL

fat chance for me in Bielat.

Instead, I might do something in new #2 vs McGovern. Greenfield ... the valley radical hippie town area.


10 posted on 12/02/2011 8:24:09 AM PST by campaignPete R-CT (I will go back to New Hampshire to campaign.)
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To: campaignPete R-CT

I think McGovern’s new CD is a bit more Dem than his old MA-03. Dem redistricters don’t have to work very hard in MA to draw Dem-leaning CDs; they can basically throw a dart at the map and expand from there, and no matter where the dart lands they’ll have a CD that gave Kerry and Obama at least 55% of the vote.


11 posted on 12/02/2011 9:27:51 AM PST by AuH2ORepublican (If a politician won't protect innocent babies, what makes you think that he'll protect your rights?)
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To: AuH2ORepublican

i guess the interest in CD#2 MA is the small town nature means there ain’t no DEM city machine and the right candidate can at least go into the small towns and get a personal following. At least it seemed fun once.


12 posted on 12/02/2011 9:30:59 PM PST by campaignPete R-CT (I will go back to New Hampshire to campaign.)
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To: campaignPete R-CT

Isn’t Worcester still in McGovern’s CD? Not a large city by any means, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t have a Dem machine.

But the biggest problem will be all those liberals from the old MA-01 added to the district. You’ll sure have your work cut out for you. And if we can’t get a good candidate to run (McGovern hasn’t faced a strong challenge in years), I don’t think the election will be competitive. If you’re interested in volunteering for a competitive contest and the McGovern race looks to be one-sided, the Frank, Tierney and Keating districts should all be more competitive (and Frank’s redrawn CD has areas that are probably as close to your home as McGovern’s CD).


13 posted on 12/03/2011 6:28:55 AM PST by AuH2ORepublican (If a politician won't protect innocent babies, what makes you think that he'll protect your rights?)
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To: AuH2ORepublican

yeah, I got the map.

I’m not getting seriously involved. Just gonna show up a bit next summer to get out of town into the country. Jay Fleitman would be the guy to run against McGovern.

Waiting to see how CT-5 is redrawn. Open seat. I am supporting conservative, constitutionalist, prolife Mark Greenberg. But I promise that I will just dabble in it. I ain’t into joining big efforts and going all out.

I have wearied of all the vile people that get attracted to campaigns and all the other people who refuse to lift a finger and bark at ya. peeple are ingrates and pigs.


14 posted on 12/03/2011 6:43:28 AM PST by campaignPete R-CT (I will go back to New Hampshire to campaign.)
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To: AuH2ORepublican

” I think that the MA-04 isn’t quite as Democrat as Bush-Kerry numbers would lead one to believe and, for once, the trend is our friend is Massachusetts.”

Good analysis. Thanks.


15 posted on 12/03/2011 7:23:47 AM PST by SharpRightTurn ( White, black, and red all over--America's affirmative action, metrosexual president.)
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To: AuH2ORepublican; campaignPete R-CT; GOPsterinMA; fieldmarshaldj; MitchellC

What’s the skinny on the 6th (Hudak running again?) and the 9th (former 10th)? Any shot in those?


16 posted on 12/04/2011 4:36:03 AM PST by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: Impy

not taking MA seriously.
they say 3 6 9 could be good along with Barney’s.


17 posted on 12/04/2011 9:07:05 PM PST by campaignPete R-CT (I will go back to New Hampshire to campaign.)
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To: Impy

I have no idea.


18 posted on 12/05/2011 7:11:55 AM PST by GOPsterinMA (And who doesn't have baggage?)
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To: campaignPete R-CT; AuH2ORepublican; GOPsterinMA; fieldmarshaldj; MitchellC

Oh crap, that fruity RINO Tisei is running in the 6th.


19 posted on 12/06/2011 12:36:49 AM PST by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: Impy

What a treat.

20 posted on 12/06/2011 12:49:58 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj (If Newt Gingrich is a Reliable Conservative, Joe Biden is a member of MENSA)
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To: fieldmarshaldj; GOPsterinMA

Show him that picture and he may turn straight. ;p


21 posted on 12/06/2011 12:56:13 AM PST by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: Impy

Yep, he’s a “loud and proud” rump ranger.


22 posted on 12/07/2011 2:45:41 PM PST by GOPsterinMA (And who doesn't have baggage?)
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To: Impy; fieldmarshaldj

Frank Reynolds - I love that show!


23 posted on 12/07/2011 2:47:27 PM PST by GOPsterinMA (And who doesn't have baggage?)
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