Keating Defeats Perry With Safe Margin

By Sean Corcoran

Nov. 3, 2010

Democratic House candidate William Keating, right, addresses an audience as U.S. Sen. John Kerry and Vice President Joe Bien , center, look on during a campaign event in Quincy, Mass. on Saturday.

BOSTON -- In the closely-watched 10th Congressional District race to replace retiring Congressman Bill Delahunt, Norfolk County District Attorney Bill Keating held off a strong showing by Republican Jeff Perry of Cape Cod Tuesday night in a contest that was expected to come down to the wire. 

By all accounts, the campaign for the 10th Congressional District seat was filled with ugly accusations and questions about candidates' honesty and integrity. Unofficial results showed a fairly close race, with Keating garnering 47 percent of the vote to Perry's 43 percent.  

In his victory speech in Quincy on Tuesday night, Keating focused on his desire to get beyond the campaign's nastiness and get to the problem-solving once he arrives in Washington.

Supporters and campaign workers gathered at the Perry headquarters in Hyannis before the election was called for Keating. (Sean Corcoran/WGBH)

"This has been a tough campaign, here in Massachusetts and across the country. Tensions have been high, battles have been fought. Words have been exchanged, lines have been drawn," Keating said. "But what makes us the single greatest nation on this planet is we always find a way to come back together. And we're going to do that."

Throughout the campaign, Keating attempted to put Perry on the defensive and raise questions about his character, launching numerous television ads and mass mailings about Perry's time as a police sergeant in the early 1990s, when an officer under his command went to prison for illegally strip searching two teenage girls. Perry was not charged during in the incident.

In his concession speech at a Hyannis hotel, Perry acknowledged the campaign's negativity, but said he chose to stick to issues.  

"We started the race right here and we talked about how we were going to give the people a conservative choice. We were going to talk about the issues and we were going to stay positive and we were going to stay on message and we did that. We offered the people in the 10th district a choice. And they made a different choice tonight, and I accept that."

But Rick Gleason of West Harwich, along with other Perry supporters waiting for the final results last night, complained that throughout the campaign Keating spoke very little about his own ideas and initiatives, choosing instead to attack Perry. 

"I try to consider myself an informed voter. I went a couple debates, some one-sided debates if you will, and I don't know anything about Mr. Keating," Gleason said.

Stephen Crawford, Keating's press secretary, counters that Perry's character was a legitimate issue.

"Bill did say that character would be an issue and it has been," Crawford said. "Our opponent never did have a consistent story about what occured when he was a police officer and I can count three different stories he told us and I think voters figured that out."

The National Republican Party had identified the 10th Congressional District as a race where Republicans had an opportunity to pick up a seat in the House of Representatives. But with Keating's victory last night, the seat that belonged to Delahunt and Rep. Gerry Studds before him, will remain in Democratic hands.

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