Ex-President Clinton Enlisted To Save Once-Safe Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank

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BOSTON – In a year where few Democrats appear safe, former President Bill Clinton flew in over the weekend to make campaign visits on behalf of House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, a 15-term Democrat who hasn’t had a close race in years.

Frank, 70, is facing a 35-year-old neophyte Republican Sean Bielat, a U.S. Marine Corps Reservist and former manager at iRobot Corp., who was a Democrat himself until 2007.

Frank, who became chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in 2007 after the Democrats’ takeover of the House, has been a longtime supporter of credit unions, often lending his support on key bills.

Despite the overwhelming odds in his favor Frank, who defeated a Republican opponent in a cakewalk with 68% of the vote in 2008 and did not have a GOP foe in the three previous elections, is taking no chances.

Clinton appeared yesterday at a campaign rally in Taunton, a small city in the southern portion of the district where Republican Scott Brown won 57% of the vote in January's special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Brown's upset victory energized the GOP and gave the party hope that it could further dent the previously all-Democratic congressional delegation in Massachusetts.

Frank’s 4th congressional district stretches from the affluent Boston suburbs of Newton and Wellesley to the working-class cities of Taunton, New Bedford and Fall River. Though registered Democrats heavily outnumber registered Republicans, more than half the district's voters are independent with no party affiliation.

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