U.S. Representative William Delahunt has announced his intention to retire from the U.S. House of Representatives, joining the large number of Republican and Democratic members of Congress declining to seek re-election this year. Delahunt has been a member of the House since 1996.
Delahunt’s retirement provides the 10th congressional district of Massachusetts with the opportunity to elect a more progressive Democrat. Delahunt’s legislative rating for the current session of Congress ranks him as somewhat progressive, with an overall score of 43. There are Democrats who ranked lower, but also many who have achieved a higher rating.
Delahunt has many progressive votes under his belt. He opposed George W Bush’s rush to invade Iraqi back in 2002. In 2006, he voted against the Military Commissions Act, and in 2008, he opposed the FISA Amendments Act. More recently, however, Delahunt voted to extend the worst abuses of the Patriot Act without any reforms at all to the law passed at the height of the Homeland Security scare a decade ago. This vote tarnishes Delahunt’s reputation among progressives near the end of his career, when he is unlikely to have any opportunity to redeem himself with a significant vote on civil liberties.