Seth Moulton says he does not plan to run for Senate in next election
It has been a rocky several weeks for Representative Seth Moulton after he organized a largely unsuccessful effort to prevent Nancy Pelosi from becoming House speaker.
So what’s next for the Salem Democrat: Will he be forced to fend off a primary challenge? Can he mend ties with Pelosi and be a player in the next Congress? Will he look at a run for president?
One thing he is not doing is running for the Senate in 2020, he said. In a Friday interview with the Globe, Moulton smothered speculation he was mounting a Democratic primary challenge to Senator Edward J. Markey.
“I have no plans to run for Senate,” Moulton said. When pressed if this meant the idea was off the table, he offered, “you never say never.”
“I appreciate that people are bringing it up to me, but it is not what I plan to do,” Moulton added. “If I were to run for the Senate in 2020, I should be making plans and I am not.”
Instead, Moulton is doing a local media tour of sorts — starting with a Globe op-ed and interview during which he argued the party was stronger after its internal battles. This was followed by Monday appearances on WBUR and WGBH-TV and other interviews with outlets in his district.
Is this possibly an attempt for the congressman to reset the political narrative after a bruising few weeks? Moulton became his party’s most prominent face of the opposition to Pelosi by calling for a “generational change.” The top three spots in the Democrats’ House leadership are occupied by people over age 70.
Moulton, in last week’s interview, pointed out that after an intraparty leadership election Pelosi didn’t have the votes within the Democratic caucus to become speaker. (Pelosi had said in response to Moulton’s efforts: “I will be speaker of the House no matter what Seth Moulton says.”)
Some local activists called him sexist for wanting to take the gavel from a woman, prompting a contentious scene at a town hall meeting he held with constituents in Amesbury. After that came word that there might be a primary challenge in his House seat.
All the while, Pelosi kept picking up votes from House Democrats. Last week, she vowed she would limit her speakership to two terms — a promise that generated enough support from party members, including Moulton, for Pelosi to secure the speakership come January.
“I am someone who keeps his promises and someone who stands up for what I believe in even when it is not politically popular,” said Moulton. “What we ultimately delivered with this deal with Pelosi is an institutional change in the House that will enable a new generation to step up.”
In the wake of his public battle with Pelosi, Moulton said he believes there is a different story to his 2018.
He easily won reelection by 34 points over Republican Joseph Schneider, he pointed out. His political action committee raised more than $2 million. Moulton also boasts he recruited, supported, and mentored 41 candidates for the House — and 21 of them won their races.
One of those candidates was Max Rose, who ousted a Republican in a US House seat district in New York that includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. In an interview coordinated by Moulton’s staff, Rose said, “no one helped me more than Seth Moulton.”
“What Seth is doing is really turning politics on its head,” said Rose. “Traditionally the party first asks whether a candidate can raise the money and then they ask if the candidate is any good. But Seth is trying to find great candidates and then seeing if he can help them raise the money. It’s almost like a political venture fund.”
Two years ago, after Democrats suffered major defeats at the ballot box, Moulton composed a memo to his staff about the way forward, including how they can help take the House majority.
Now, Moulton said, he isn’t sure if he will keep the PAC going since Democrats took the House majority — or what exactly he’ll do next.
“We have to figure that out,” he said.