After coming off two losses in previous Congressional elections, Republican businessman Sean Bielat bowed out of the special senate election race Wednesday, striking a blow to an already small republican field with few established candidates.
“Over the past few weeks, I have given a lot of consideration and exploration towards running for the U.S. Senate in the Massachusetts special election, but I have made the decision not to run at this time,” Bielat said in a press release Wednesday.
Bielat, who was originally reported to be running in the race for John Kerry’s senate seat, said another campaign within three years would be hard on his family.
“Running a third campaign in a high-profile race in three years with a one and a two year-old would be particularly difficult on our family,” he said in the release. “The most compelling reason for me to run is for our country’s future and for our children’s futures, but at this point, I hope and I feel that I can do the most for our children simply by spending more time with them.”
Bielat ran in the 2010 U.S. House of Representatives election and lost to incumbent Barney Frank. He ran for the seat again in 2012 against Joseph Kennedy III, but lost.
Tim Buckley, communications director for the Massachusetts Republican Party, said even without Bielat in the race, there will be great Republican candidates on the ballot.
“I don’t think Bielat’s decision not to run hurt the Republican Party at all,” he said. “We have three fantastic candidates, Gabriel Gomez, Michael Sullivan, and Dan Winslow. Three very solid candidates who will all very likely be on the ballot. And whoever emerges from the Republican side is going to be a breath of fresh air.”
Mass. Rep. Daniel Winslow kicked off his campaign Feb. 8 as the first declared Republican candidate. Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez announced Feb. 11 that he would run as well. Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said Feb. 14 that he was collecting the signatures needed to be included in the primary.
Samantha Hooper, press secretary for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said the Republican Party would need to organize itself if the GOP is to be competitive in the race.
“[The Republican party] has been a little scattered in terms of who they’ve been able to choose and who is actually going to be running, while we have people who are dedicated to running,” she said. “We don’t really know what to expect at this point but we are ready and hoping to move forward.”
Bielat said his decision not to run in the special election does not signify the end of his political career.
“Based on everything we have seen, and the data and information we have, I am confident that we could have run a strong race and would have stood a good chance of winning the general election. However, this is simply not the right time for our family,” Bielat said in the release.
Bielat said he is putting his support toward the Republican that wins the primary.
“I sincerely hope our supporters, volunteers, and donors will join me in working hard to ensure that we elect a candidate who will serve us well in the Senate and provide much needed leadership in Washington,” he said in the release.
Signatures are due Wednesday for potential candidates to be considered for the primary, which will be held April 30. The special election will take place June 25.
William Mayer, professor of political science at Northeastern University, said it was not in Bielat’s self-interest to run in the special election.
“He’s campaigned in the last two house elections, so part of it [his not running] was that he’d already done it and he didn’t think he could win,” he said.
Mayer said Bielat likely would have been a better candidate than those currently confirmed for the Republicans.
“He probably would have been a little stronger than the people they’ve [the Republicans] got [already running], but he’s never won an election before, so it’s not as though he was a juggernaut just waiting to run,” he said.
He said there is a high chance the Democrats will take the lead based on the list of candidates running.
“A Democrat will win,” Mayer said. “It’s a very strong Democratic state. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for things to be the other way, but against that background, it’s hard to make out the case that a Republican has a real good shot of winning this time around.”