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In 1775, a rag-tag band of colonists first took aim against the powerful army of the British Empire on the town green in the center of Lexington, Mass. They faced daunting odds in gaining independence from one of the world's greatest powers, but nothing like the steep odds Republican Jeff Semon faces in trying to become the next Congressman representing the Bay State's heavily Democratic 7th district.
Semon declared his candidacy for Congress last week in a Web video taped on the Lexington green. The 34-year-old financial consultant launched his campaign saying, "We need to elect officials that do what's best for our citizens, not what's best for a political party."
In an interview with Roll Call, Semon said he was running for Congress because he sees "the trajectory our country is on and want[s] to change it."
Semon emphasized his business bona fides and said he was inspired to run because of how Democrats have harmed the business climate.
Asked how he might win, he said Bay Staters were tired of the Democratic vision of government. "I'm offering a very distinct choice: less government, less taxes, more independence for the individual," Semon said.
He noted that Republican Sen. Scott Brown's victory in 2010 revealed that the Massachusetts political landscape had shifted.
Massachusetts is losing a seat in the decennial reapportionment process, which adds a twist to the Bay State's redistricting dance. Semon, who lives in Lexington, said he will run for Congress in whatever district his home is placed.
Nineteen-term Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) currently represents Lexington and the 7th district. He won in 2010 with 66 percent of the vote and had more than $3 million in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter. In 2008, President Barack Obama won the 7th district with 65 percent of the vote, and Markey took the district with 76 percent of the vote. In the 2004 election, with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on the presidential ballot, Markey won with about three-quarters of ballots cast.
Semon explained his temperament contributed to his decision to run.
"I'm not the kind of person that just sits idly by and complains or yells at the television. I'm the kind of guy that does something, that gets involved. And that's what I'm doing," Semon said.
Watch his announcement video: