By Jim Smith
BOSTON – In a stunning political development, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn announced last week that he is dropping out of the Massachusetts gubernatorial race to run for the Congressional seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II.
The announcement immediately propelled the former mayor of Boston from the back of the pack in the governor’s race to one of the favorites in the contest to represent the 8th Congressional District, which includes a big chunk of Boston, including Allston-Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and east Boston, as well as Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown.
Nearly half of the voters in the district are from Boston, where Flynn was a popular mayor for nearly 10 years before becoming ambassador to the Vatican.
“This district is a blue collar, working-class community that my family and I have been connected with for many, many years,” Flynn told reporters. “I have always tried to be an advocate for working families and the needy. I understand the concerns of the people in this district, and I will fight for them in Congress.”
Flynn’s bombshell announcement was first reported in the Boston Herald last Wednesday after Flynn supporters evidently leaked the story to that newspaper. The Boston Globe, which had portrayed Flynn derisively in a series of negative articles last fall, did not report the story until Thursday.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
On Saturday, Globe political writer Brian Mooney described Flynn’s campaign for Congress as the unfolding “of a sad, almost pathetic story” of “an aging fighter, attempting one too many comebacks, or a tragic figure at the opening of the third act.”
Flynn, who will be 59 in July, was the subject of a relatively sympathetic report several weeks ago on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which implied the Globe’s investigation into Flynn’s drinking habits last fall was excessive and heavy-handed.
Flynn supporters, meanwhile, suggest that the Globe’s demeaning portrayal of Flynn as an unsophisticated beer drinker, short on campaign cash, may not hurt him in the 8th District neighborhoods, where pubs abound and where the “Joe Six-Pack” image may resonate favorably with the voters.
Flynn, the only anti-abortion candidate in the crowded Congressional race, will be the keynote speaker at the national convention of the AOH on July 19-20 in Pittsburgh.