Markey, Gomez Win Primaries For Massachusetts Special Election

The field is set for the June 25th Special Election to fill the seat vacated by John Kerry:

Rep. Ed Markey defeated fellow Rep. Stephen Lynch on Tuesday in the Democratic primary for the special Senate election to succeed now-Secretary of State John Kerry.

Businessman Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, won the Republican primary. He will be a big underdog in the June 25 general election in this deep-blue state, but the GOP feels hopeful that he can keep the race competitive.

Gomez won after dramatically outspending his two primary opponents. He ran as an outsider and was the only GOP candidate to afford a big buy on television, giving him a natural advantage.

His main opponent, former U.S. Attorney Mike Sullivan, was initially seen as the GOP front-runner because of strong support from conservative activists. But the onetime acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported dismal fundraising numbers.

The primary, two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing, generated little buzz even inside the state and saw very low turnout.

Democrats are confident they’ll hold the seat, but they promise not to take anything for granted after former Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s January 2010 special election upset. Brown ran an adept campaign that capitalized on an inept candidate — Attorney General Martha Coakley — and growing hostility toward Obamacare that culminated in the national tea party wave that November.

Polling of a Markey-Gomez head-to-head matchup has been sparse to date, but it has consistently shown Markey with a strong lead. Of course, Republicans will hold out hope that lighting will strike twice and Gomez will be another Scott Brown but the odds of that seem to be slim. For one thing, Markey has been a Congressman for 36 years and seems to be a far more skilled campaigned than Brown’s 2010 opponent Martha Coakley. For another, these are different times than 2013 and it seems unlikely that Gomez will be able to rally the same kind of coalition that Brown did. In what could possibly a preview of which party is more enthusiastic for the election, there were more than 500,000 ballots case in the Democratic primary, and less than 190,000 cast in the Republican primary. For now, I’d say that Markey’s the clear favorite in this race.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.