2 Very Different Rallies In The 10th

Published October 31, 2010

Candidates for the closely watched 10th Congressional District are moving at full speed this weekend. I attended rallies for both Democrat Bill Keating and Republican Jeff Perry on Saturday and came away with two very different impressions.

At the Elks Lodge in Quincy, a roster of Democratic royalty practically begged supporters to help keep the party in power. Vicki Kennedy, Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Ed Markey and retiring Rep. Bill Delahunt all said the House can’t fall into Republican hands on Tuesday.

“This election is as serious as a heart attack, man, this is real, this election is more important than the last election,” said Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke off the cuff for about 15 minutes too long.

[pullquote author=”Vice President Joe Biden” align=”right”]“Reports of the death of the Democratic party are premature.”[/pullquote]

The star speaker paraphrased Mark Twain: “Reports of the death of the Democratic party are premature.”

I was sent to photograph the event, so I observed the latter half of Biden’s speech from the press riser. As Biden wrapped up and rallied the troops to get out the vote, I waited for the moment of euphoria to get the perfect crowd shot. It never really came.

My colleague Lisa Tobin and I drove a few miles to the next town over, Weymouth, and found Jeff Perry and his red-shirted supporters throwing a party on the sidewalk. They waved American flags and Perry signs. They mercilessly made of fun of liberals. Some showed up in Halloween costumes. Supportive car horns blared.

In Quincy, I witnessed the old guard of Massachusetts politics, seemingly desperate to hold on to something that started to slip away when Scott Brown rose to power 10 months ago. In Weymouth, I saw a merry band of insurgents, jubilant about something that feels just within reach.

Afterward, I tweeted my impressions:

If the election were decided on the energy of rallies alone, it’ll be Perry over Keating by a long shot.

Twitterer @professorU replied: “Energy at rallies can lead to energy at GOTV.”

Polls show Keating and Perry in a dead heat. The race may be decided by the side that gets people more excited to go to the polls.