Special election heads to general election in Massachusetts

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June 24, 2013

Massachusetts

By Jennifer Springer

Boston, Massachusetts: Longtime Rep. Ed Markey will face off against political newcomer Gabriel Gomez in the U.S. Senate special election in Massachusetts tomorrow.[1][2][3] The victor will fill the seat vacated by John Kerry earlier this year when he was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of State.[1] Polls will be open from 7 am until 8 pm ET.[4]

On January 30, 2013, Mo Cowan was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick to fill the vacancy. Cowan, a Democrat who previously served as Patrick's Chief of Staff, will serve as interim Senator until voters choose Kerry's official successor in the special general election tomorrow.[5][6][7]

Democratic nominee Ed Markey, who has served in the U.S. House since 1976, was the first candidate to announce his intention to run for the Senate seat, and immediately gained the backing of the powerful Democratic establishment, including Kerry and Victoria Kennedy, the wife of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, as well as President Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, former Vice-President Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton.[8][9]

Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez is a newcomer to politics.[10] The son of Colombian immigrants, Gomez became a Navy pilot and SEAL, earned an M.B.A. at Harvard and launched a private equity career.[10] He was virtually unknown in Massachusetts politics before announcing his plan to run for Kerry's seat earlier this year.[11][11] Gomez also had a national political figure campaign for him, as Senator John McCain came to Massachusetts to support Gomez.[9][12]

Three general election debates between Markey and Gomez took place. A June 5 debate took place in Boston sponsored by WBZ-TV and Boston Globe, with two other debates taking place on June 11 in western Massachusetts sponsored by Western Mass Media and on June 18 sponsored by a consortium of Boston media outlets.[13][14][15]

Consistently, polling throughout the race showed Markey with a lead over challenger Gabriel Gomez.

Even in Massachusetts, a deeply "blue" state, surprises can happen in elections that do not feature presidential levels of voter turnout.[16] Four of the last six governors have been Republicans, and in 2010 Scott Brown shook the political world with his upset special election victory.[16] He went on to lose his re-election bid in 2012, as Barack Obama swept the state.[16] The similarities between the 2010 election and the current special election, between a seasoned, longtime Democrat facing off against a young, fresh-faced Republican with no political experience, caused Democrats to vow not to commit the same mistakes this second time around, in an effort to avoid another election upset.[17]

In the final pre-election fundraising report, Markey maintained his fundraising lead over Gomez, outspending him by nearly $4 million.[18] On June 21, 2013, just days before the June 25th general special election, Gabriel Gomez’s campaign put an additional $300,000 behind its latest television ad, as the result of a fund-raising surge in the campaign’s closing days.[19] Gomez adviser Lenny Alcivar said the infusion brought in cash the campaign did not expect to have, and he pointed to Gomez’s performance in the final debate on June 18 as a motivation for donors.[19]

Voter turnout is likely to be lower than the 2010 special election that sent Republican Scott Brown to the Senate.[20][21]

See also

Ballotpedia News

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 CNN "Breaking: Markey wins Dem nomination in Mass. Senate primary" accessed June 24, 2013
  2. Boston.com, "Secretary of state to set Senate special election date of June 25," January 28, 2013
  3. The Boston Globe, "William ‘Mo’ Cowan to be interim US senator," January 30, 2013
  4. Sharon News, "Sharon: Remember to vote in Special Election on Tuesday" accessed June 24, 2013
  5. The New York Times, "Governor Names Longtime Friend to Kerry’s Seat" January 30, 2013
  6. Washington Post, "Who is Mo Cowan?" January 30, 2013
  7. The Boston Globe, "William ‘Mo’ Cowan to be interim US senator," January 30, 2013
  8. Politico, "Joe Biden heading to Massachusetts for Ed Markey" accessed June 20, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 Politico, "Bill Clinton to campaign for Ed Markey" accessed June 13, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 WCVB "Markey, Gomez to face off for US Senate seat" accessed April 30, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 Huffington Post, " Ed Markey Wins Massachusetts Democratic Senate Primary" accessed April 30, 2013
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named masslive
  13. Boston.com, "Gomez, Markey OK June 5 Mass. US Senate debate" accessed May 21, 2013 (dead link)
  14. Mass Live, "Senate candidates Edward Markey, Gabriel Gomez agree to June 5 debate in Boston" accessed May 21, 2013
  15. Fox News, "In MA Senate Race, Markey Keeps Low Profile While Gomez Seeks Spotlight" accessed May 21, 2013
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named nationalreview
  17. Washington Post, "Ed Markey Rallies Democrats as he faces Gabriel Gomez" accessed May 2, 2013
  18. Roll Call, "Markey Outspends Gomez by $4 Million #MASEN" accessed June 17, 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 Boston.com, "Republican US Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez campaign claims $300,000 surge in fund-raising" accessed June 21, 2013
  20. Boston Globe, "Absentee ballots for Senate election down sharply from 2010" accessed June 24, 2013
  21. Patriot Ledger, "Low voter turnout expected in Tuesday's U.S. Senate election" accessed June 24, 2013