Two sides of the Cap-for-Senate possibility. First, "Anonymous" asks:
What happens to Mike Capuano if he loses his second Dem primary despite
being in Congress for over 10 years in the most heavily Dem district in
the state? Could he run statewide a third time and win? Does he risk a
primary challenge in the state's minority majority district?
But back to the questions at hand. If he runs in the special and loses, I think it would be tough for him to launch another state-wide run in the short-term future, but he's got time to wait for future opportunities. To me, the question would be whether he wants to wait in the house (see: Markey, Ed) or in some more interesting and rewarding job (see: Meehan, Marty).
Does he risk a primary challenge? Perhaps, I don't know that the calculus changes much on that regardless of whether he tries for Senate again or not. Either way he'd be tough but not impossible to take on, and any serious pol with ambitions would risk total ostracization by challenging him and losing. (Personally, I would advise people like Pressley, Arroyo et al that it might be easier to beat Capuano one-on-one than hope to win a post-Cap primary with several black or Latino candidates splitting the vote against (perhaps) one solid candidate from the north part of the new district. But I doubt they would take my advice.)
Now on to "Drew B.," who asks:
If Capuano doesn't run in the Special Sen. Primary, does that decrease
the chances that Downing/Lynch et al. will run as well? In different
terms: if Caps doesn't run has Markey cleared the field?
I think Lynch is in regardless -- I think he regrets being chased out in '09, and isn't going to let the pitch go by again, whether the chances look good or not. And my sense is that Capuano being out helps Lynch lock up more of the labor groups that he needs.
Certainly Ben Downing is hoping that as many Boston-area congressmen run as humanly possible, so that they have to split the metro votes. But on the other hand, if the field is just Markey and Lynch, doesn't that increase his chances of getting a real look from the grassroots, and perhaps catching fire?