Kerry seat eyed by ex-supporter who sees him as too fixed on presidency
Since losing the 2004 presidential race, Sen. John Kerry has become a champion for liberal issues and a go-to Democratic fund-raiser. Politicians salivate over his list of supporters left over from his bid, and the Massachusetts Democrat hasn’t ruled out another run — someday.
Many Democrats still seethe over Mr. Kerry’s loss but cautiously applaud his antiwar efforts and his fundraising for liberal causes and candidates.
“There’s a clarity that I have about what is important that comes out of the race in ’04,” Mr. Kerry told The Washington Times in an interview recently. “You kind of get back from it a little bit, you can really see with that clarity. I don’t get tempted to jump back in, but an honest statement would have to acknowledge that there are times when you, sort of, you know, miss the battle a little bit.”
Those lingering presidential ambitions are the problem and have put the longtime senator out of step with his Massachusetts constituents, said Ed O’Reilly, a Democrat aiming to challenge Mr. Kerry in his Senate re-election primary next year.
“I think John Kerry has been running for president his entire adult life, and I think I can do better,” said Mr. O’Reilly, a former firefighter and Gloucester city councilor.
But it will be an uphill battle for Mr. O’Reilly to even get on the 2008 primary ballot.
“One is going to be hard pressed to really be a serious challenger to the senator,” said Michael Goldman, a political consultant in Boston. “If a can- didate does not have name recognition, money or field organization, they are not going to beat John Kerry.”
Mr. Kerry has $6 million in the bank; Mr. O’Reilly has raised less than $50,000.
Mr. O’Reilly is trying to court the same liberal bloggers who helped propel Democrat Ned Lamont to a primary victory last year over Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, but few at the recent Yearly Kos blogger convention were aware of his candidacy.
Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos said Mr. Lamont’s win last August sparked a real sense of change among liberal activists, but he doubts he will support Mr. O’Reilly, even though he is “a fan” of primaries.
“Elected officials should face voters to justify to the party they deser ve another chance,” he said. “They aren’t elected for life.”