[Posted by Karl]
Why? Jim Geraghty (and Jazz Shaw) note:
Following the 2010 census, Massachusetts is in line to lose one congressional seat, taking them from 10 to 9. Frank is more than seventy years old and could very likely have been looking at retirement in the not too distant future anyway, and this gives the state party an easy out in terms of carving up their redistricting map without the need for a nasty, internecine food fight.
Close, but probably not quite right, as WPRI’s Ted Nesi reports:
Part of Frank’s calculus may be the new boundaries of his 4th Congressional District drawn by Massachusetts’ redistricting panel.
The biggest change for Frank’s 4th District is the loss of New Bedford, a key Democratic stronghold, and the addition of a bunch of conservative-leaning communities in my old stomping grounds along the Rhode Island border, including Attleboro, North Attleboro, Plainville, and U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s hometown of Wrentham. That was going to be tough territory for Frank.
Indeed, Brown won Frank’s district before the lines were redrawn. Frank won in 2010 with 55% of the vote — but that was his worst showing since 1980, when he was first elected. Of the many bad things I could say about Frank, he’s not dumb when it comes to politics, which is why he now shuffles off to some quasi-private sector gig, likely a lucrative one.
Update: Frank basically confirms the theory presented here.