Bielat: Kennedy Hasn't Earned Frontrunner Status

By Adam Reilly

Jan. 18, 2012

BOSTON — Two years ago, Sean Bielat looked like a rising Republican star as he mounted a surprisingly tough challenge to Rep. Barney Frank. But in the end Frank won by a comfortable margin and Bielat moved to Pennsylvania.
But Bielat is back. He’s making another bid for Congress — and this time he may end up tangling with a Kennedy.
As a spectator sport, politics is most enjoyable when the combatants dislike each other. And in the 2010 congressional race, there seemed to be genuine ill-will between Frank and Bielat. Frank's eventual victory speech was anything but magnanimous. "The collective campaigns that were run by most Republicans were beneath the dignity of a democracy," he said.
That turned out to be Frank’s final campaign. The 16-term incumbent has said he will retire at the end of 2012, citing radical changes to his congressional district.
"The district is very substantially changed. There are 325 or 326,000 new people, many of whom I’ve never represented, some of whom I haven’t represented for 20 years, which is an eternity in politics today," he said in a press conference.
The Democratic front-runner for Frank’s seat is Joseph P. Kennedy III. Launching his campaign on Jan. 17, Bielat seemed to take a swipe at Kennedy, saying, “Nobody should expect to succeed in this country by virtue of their birth.”
On "Greater Boston" on Jan. 18, Bielat expanded on that sentiment. Pointing out Kennedy's youth and political inexperience, he said, "I have nothing against him as an individual. I do know we wouldn't be having this conversation if his last name weren't Kennedy." He added, "You should have to earn these things. And maybe he will. But as yet he hasn't."

He clarified that his move to Pennsylvania was only temporary, to be near his wife's family when she gave birth to their second child this fall.

And as for Mass. Democratic Party chairman John Walsh's statement Tuesday saying Bielat had no chance, the candidate retorted: "If John Walsh is issuing a press statement to say that, it's indicative that he does take the threat seriously."

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