Not to insult Hampden, but Longmeadow appears to be the locus of the district. Longmeadow is the ATM of Springfield area politics. It may be near impossible to find a candidate for office in greater Springfield who did not have at least a few donors who list a Longmeadow address.
Taken together with Hampden who have one of the most affluent districts in the state, let alone Western Mass, filled with citizens eager to donate to campaigns of both parties and likely to show up to the polls. It will be a spirited campaign to be sure.
As such it will present problems to both as of yet announced potential candidates. If Longmeadow is as much of the locus as it may seem, it may not be interested in having either a Springfielder or somebody from the "other Longmeadow" represent them.
Kateri Walsh would have difficulties because her base of support is largely within Springfield, which consists of only a sliver of Rogeness's district (2 precincts). She certainly has friends throughout Hampden County, but do they span the length and breadth of the Second Hampden? Walsh would also need to really convince voters. The same politics that work on voters in Springfield may not work on White Collar suburbanites. Walsh has one key advantage: her brother, Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett. Bennett lives in Longmeadow and having been DA for some time must have pockets of support in every town in the County. At the same time, Springfielders may fear a 10th spot return of supposed Asselin-friend former City Councilor Morris Jones.
Enrico Villamaino may face different questions. First of all he is still unknown to a number of voters, although the 2006 campaign did take him through territory that included much of Rogeness' district. He was terribly outgunned compared to Candaras and the Mass GOP essentially ceded the seat to her. If the GOP wants to keep control of this important House seat they may want to pick a more seasoned, wealthier, or more visible candidate. Expect a prominent lawyer, selectman or another official to materialize as a GOP candidate.
With open seats rare at best and competitive races rarer still, the local press and the public will be all over this race. Because the GOP is still categorized as an endangered species, press coverage will probably include the Globe, too. As of now, Boston.com only has an AP report on Rogeness' retirement.
More generally, the race may serve as a bellwether for the GOP's health for the foreseeable future. If they lose the seat, then recovery will not be for a while. If they keep it, depending on how things go for the legislature between now and 2010, the GOP may be in a position to make some gains in both the House and Senate.
*Rogeness photo from Mass.gov