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Stephen Lynch out for meet-and-greet

Plans to spend time in towns added to 8th District

GLOBE FILE PHOTO/2010

Lynch in his Capitol Hill office in Washington.

In recent weeks, US Representative Stephen F. Lynch attended Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch’s inauguration, had breakfast with Weymouth Mayor Susan M. Kay, and sat in on Cohasset’s Special Town Meeting.

On Saturday, the South Boston Democrat is slated to be at Nantasket Beach to blow the whistle for the start of the Drowned Hogs ocean swim fund-raiser for Hull’s Wellspring Multi-Service Center.

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Lynch is spending as much time as he can in the seven south suburban communities that were added to his Boston-based 8th District in last year’s congressional redistricting.

“While I’ve been home from Washington, I’m trying to get around and see everyone I can,’’ he said. “I have about a quarter of a million new people in the district, so I’ve been busy.’’

Redistricting, which goes into effect with this fall’s election, eliminated one of Massachusetts’ 10 congressional districts and reconfigured the nine that remain. The process inflicted significant damage to incumbents south of Boston.

Democrat Barney Frank of Newton decided not to seek reelection, citing the difficulty of running in the reshaped 4th District. Freshman Democrat William R. Keating saw his new hometown of Quincy cut out of the district, while New Bedford and part of Fall River were added. He now faces a primary challenge from Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter of Fall River.

Lynch, however, appears to have fared well in redistricting.

A former ironworker and probably the most conservative member of the state’s congressional delegation, Lynch retains his South Boston base, while picking up south communities where his brand of working-class politics is likely to resonate. He also is keeping some of the more conservative southwest suburbs that he has represented since he was first elected to Congress in 2001.

Communities added to the district this year are Abington, Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, Quincy, Scituate, and Weymouth. Gone from Lynch’s district are Raynham, Randolph, Easton, and part of Milton.

So far, Lynch has no announced challengers from either party. The primary will be on Sept. 6, and the final election Nov. 6.

“We desperately would like to have someone come forward, but I haven’t heard of anyone planning to run,’’ said Brad Williams, chairman of the Boston Republican City Committee.

Republican state Representative Geoff Diehl of Whitman said he does not know of any potential Republican challengers from the suburbs. “I think Steve is a conservative Democrat, and my district is pretty conservative, so he aligns well with the area,’’ said Diehl, who represents Abington, East Bridgewater, and Whitman.

In Congress, Lynch has gained a reputation as a maverick, with conservative positions on social issues and progressive or populist stands on economic issues. A longtime abortion opponent, he voted against the final version of President Obama’s health care reform legislation, and he voted to authorize President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq.

Lynch has more than $650,000 in his campaign treasury. He said he expects to have challengers this year, both in the Democratic primary and in the general election.

“With the economy the way it is, there is a certain amount of frustration out there,’’ he said.

Since winning the seat in a special election after the death of Joseph Moakley, Lynch has been reelected by comfortable margins. In 2010, he took 65 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary to defeat labor official Mac D’Alessandro of Milton. In the final election, Lynch won 68 percent of the total, prevailing over Republican Vernon Harrison of Braintree and independent Philip Dunkelbarger of Westwood.

Lynch said he is sorry to see Randolph removed from the district. With its large nonwhite population, Randolph was added onto the 7th District, which is designed to be a minority-majority district, in which a nonwhite candidate would have a good chance of being elected.

“That was heartbreaking,’’ Lynch said of losing Randolph. “I invested a lot of time in the town and made a lot of friends there.’’

Koch, the Quincy mayor, said he has known Lynch for some time, having worked with him on regional issues. “He’s very attentive to detail,’’ Koch said. “He knows what’s going on in the city. I’m looking forward to working with him for many years to come.’’

As part of his effort to get to know the area, Lynch is scheduling breakfast at a local restaurant with every mayor and state legislator from the new communities in the district.

“I ask them to pick the restaurant. They seem to know the good places to go,’’ he said.

Robert Preer can be reached at preer@comcast.net.
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