Massachusetts Senate Race Closer Than Expected

The Massachusetts Senate Special Election between Democratic Congressman Ed Markey and Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez is closer than most people thought it would be:

A new poll puts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey ahead of his Republican rival Gabriel Gomez by just 4 percentage points in the Massachusetts Senate race.

Markey leads Gomez, 44 percent to 40 percent, in a survey out Friday from Public Policy Polling. That’s a surprisingly narrow margin given the state’s overwhelmingly Democratic electorate. Sixteen percent of voters say they’re undecided.

Still, Republican Scott Brown’s surprise victory in the 2010 special Senate election proved that GOP candidates can prevail in the Bay State under the right circumstances. Democrats have vowed not to allow a repeat of Democrat Martha Coakley’s disastrous campaign against Brown three years ago.

Gomez, 47, who won a three-way Republican primary on Tuesday, is being lauded as a next-generation Republican with bipartisan appeal: he’s young, Latino and rose from modest means to become a Navy SEAL and successful businessman.

Markey, 66, was first elected to Congress in 1976 and has represented Massachusetts in the House since then.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed had a favorable view of Gomez, compared with 27 percent who viewed him unfavorably. Markey has higher name ID in the state, but also higher unfavorables: he has a 44 percent favorable rating in the poll, compared with 41 percent unfavorable.

Gomez has a double-digit lead among independents in the poll: he gets the support of 47 percent of the demographic, compared with 31 percent for Markey. Twenty-two percent of independents say they’re undecided.

The fact that Markey, who has been a fixture in Massachusetts politics for decades is interesting. Whether it means that Gomez has an opening here remains to be seen, but the high number of undecided voters and the fact that Gomez is very much a moderate Republican as Scott Brown was may mean that he’ll have a chance of pulling off a surprise victory.

FILED UNDER: 2013 Election, US Politics, , , , , ,
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.


  1. mantis says:

    Don’t bet on it!

  2. edmondo says:

    But stonetools tells us everyday that people can’t wait to vote for Democrats. Perhaps he needs to contact the DNC for better talking points.

  3. Ian says:

    Not entirely surprising. Mass has a history of electing Republicans to the Governorship, at least. 91 to 07. If Gomez is a moderate, then he has a realistic shot.

  4. rudderpedals says:

    To the extent that it shakes complacency out of the campaign this is a good poll for Markey.

  5. edmondo says:

    @rudderpedals: @rudderpedals:

    extrapolating on that theory, if he was behind by 20 points, would that be a fantastic poll?

  6. rudderpedals says:

    @edmondo: No

  7. rudderpedals says:

    20 points in the hole would be horrible, devastating, a bridge too far.

  8. Stonetools says:


    Well, they SHOULD be rushing to vote for Democrats. Sometimes there’s no accounting for voter preferences. Markey clearly has some work to do. He can start by attacking the Republications for sabotaging the recovery in pursuit of an economic theory that’s dead wrong and point out that Gomez will just contribute to more Republican wrongdoing, since the Republicans all vote in lockstep these days.

  9. Jeremy says:


    I agree. Pursuing an economic theory that is dead wrong is hurting America.

    Too bad that right now is mostly Democrats following Krugman style stimulus. The past half decade has been nothing if not an abject repudiation of Krugnomics.

  10. @Jeremy:

    Man, talk about Jeremy in Wonderland. You must have been fast asleep over the past two weeks when it was shown that Krugman’s predictions have been right 14 times out of 15 against various conservatives . Here, read this and learn something.

    Krugtron The Invincible

    Also read this , which shows that conservative theories “proving ” that we need to concentrate on debt reduction are mathematically and logically wrong.

  11. edmondo says:


    Then why is Obama pursuing these policies?

  12. KansasMom says:

    This is the same Gabriel Gomez who tried to “swiftboat” the president over the bin Laden killing right?

  13. Septimius says:

    Can’t wait to see all the progressive, tolerant, inclusive Democrats vote for the old, white guy while the racist, bigoted Republicans vote for the young, Latino.

  14. Stonetools says:


    Latino Republican candidates can be racist, bigoted and just batsh&t crazy . Witness Ted Cruz. That said, it looks like Gomez is sorta reasonable. Since he would be joining a Republican caucus that’s crazy, bigoted, and reactionary, that’s how he’ll end up voting, most of the time.
    Ed markey is going to hang the national Republican Party record might round Gomez’ neck.

  15. Andre Kenji says:


    Can’t wait to see all the progressive, tolerant, inclusive Democrats vote for the old, white guy while the racist, bigoted Republicans vote for the young, Latino.

    But Gomez is white as Chantilly.

  16. Septimius says:


    Ed markey is going to hang the national Republican Party record might round Gomez’ neck.

    So, you’re implying that the old, white guy is going to lynch the young person of color. That’s the kind of despicable dog-whistle politics that has no place in polite discussion. Have you no shame?

  17. cleverboots says:

    We do not need more obstructionist, regressive Republicans in Congress. It’s easy to see what their negative influence has done to this country and we don’t need any more of it.