Congressman Seth Moulton has declared himself a candidate for re-election, but the opposition Republicans, so far, have no one to oppose him.
It may be an indication that insiders think beating Moulton would be a daunting task, even though he's a first-term congressman.
"I'm not aware of anybody talking about opposing him," says Republican state Rep. Brad Hill of Ipswich. He brushes off the idea he might run himself. "I'm very happy where I am," he says, explaining that he's been concentrating on his work at the Statehouse.
GOP stalwart Nancy Luther of Topsfield, a Republican State Committeewoman, says, "I know of no one planning to run. At least no one has contacted me." That includes two-time candidate Richard Tisei, who lost to both former Congressman John Tierney and Moulton during the last two cycles. Tisei could not be reached for comment, but Luther suspects she would have heard from him before now if he intended to make another effort.
Luther points out that papers for filing aren't available until February, so "there's still plenty of time."
But political activist Barbara Anderson of Marblehead — not a Republican, she says — is skeptical that any serious candidate would wait that long to make their intentions known. Running for Congress requires a period of raising money and gathering support.
Nor is she surprised that there appears to be a lack of interest.
"Nobody in his right mind would run," she says. "Seth Moulton is not going to lose." Though often opposed to Democratic Party policies, Anderson says she's been impressed with some of the positions that Moulton has taken. "He's a leader."
Nevertheless, she believes there is an important role for Republicans, one that pivots on Moulton's very popularity and the likelihood that he won't be the district's congressman for very long. "You can see he's going to be running for the (United States) Senate the first chance he gets," she says. In fact, she won't rule out the prospect of Moulton one day making an eventual run for the nation's top job — president. "He's a very ambitious politician."
Meanwhile, in a state that recently voted in a Republican governor but hasn't a single GOP congressman, Anderson says Republicans will need to come forward, to make themselves known in order to be in a position to run when a vacancy occurs. "In a democratic republic you're supposed to have opposition. Someone has to say, 'I'm putting myself out there. ... I want you to get to know me.'"
For her part, Luther notes there is always the unexpected. Just because she hasn't heard of any potential candidate, "It doesn't mean there isn't somebody contemplating it. It's a large district. ...
"A few years ago someone announced for the U. S. Congress and didn't notify the State Committee people." She ticked off some of the far-flung towns of the congressional district, from Billerica to Bedford. "One never knows if someone is interested."