Patrick Kennedy's decision not to seek reelection is indeed stunning, but it's also a bow to political reality and a smart move. Kennedy undoubtedly knew that he would be in a tough reelection fight, with the candidacy of Republican opponent John Loughlin being assisted by all the resources that the Republicans at the national level could throw at this race. They would have done that because, after the Scott Brown upheaval next door, it was all too apparent that Kennedy was vulnerable, and recent poll numbers demonstrated that. Republicans would have enjoyed quite a victory defeating Kennedy. Now Patrick Kennedy has denied them that victory while preserving an ability to someday reemerge on the political scene.
The question now is what does Kennedy's withdrawal mean for John Loughlin. Will the Republicans throw their weight behind him now, when he will be facing a fresh Democratic challenger? Maybe not. The best thing for John Loughlin, it is now apparent, was to have Patrick Kennedy as his opponent. Now he might even face another Republican challenger for the party endorsement.
Who do you think that might be?