Sean Bielat, Republican candidate for Barney Frank’s congressional seat, held a conference call for bloggers last night. I know very little about either candidate – Sean Bielat vs Joe Kennedy III so I thought I’d listen in. I can’t say I learned a lot, but it was a good introduction to the candidate. My (admittedly uninformed) observations from the call were:
* Sean Bielat has a strong bio as a businessman and a US Marine and that he’s trying to contrast that with Joe Kennedy’s apparently thinner resume.
* He’s emphasizing that he has clear policy positions and that so far Kennedy has been mostly silent on policy. Note: his communication director pointed out that Kennedy’ silence on policy has already been raised on Village14.
* The newly redrawn 4th district is much more favorable towards Republicans then the previous district map.
* They plan to use social media heavily in the coming race and have various, as yet unannounced, interesting plans for doing so. They believe that the key to winning the race is a bottoms up, grassroots effort and that social media will be central to that.
As for his general campaign themes and message I’d characterize them, probably unfairly, as Republican Light, or Mass Republican, not unlike Scott Brown. The general messages were pretty consistent with the national Republican party, with some of the edges taken off for local MA consumption.
Personally, his policies did not strike a chord with me … but then I’ve rarely voted for Republicans and I’m unlikely to be his target audience, In particular, the number 1 & 2 issues he raised were economy/jobs and the deficit. His number one prescription for economy/jobs was lowering the tax burden on businesses and individuals. Then when speaking about the importance of lowering the deficit there was never any mention of the fact that lowering tax revenue would increase the deficit.
All in all, he sounded like an articulate and good spokesman for the Republican point of view and I suspect he’ll be a formidable candidate.