Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Jumping the Gun in Massachusetts?

In Senate on February 12, 2013 at 11:11 am
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5)

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5)

The special US Senate election to replace newly confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry has yet to occur, but already we have one candidate announcement pertaining to a secondary campaign and another conditional candidacy. Should Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) win the special statewide election on June 25, then an election to fill his vacant 5th District congressional position subsequently will be called.

State Rep. Carl Sciortino on Friday announced that he will run in the special election to replace Markey. Sciortino, who bills himself as a “leading progressive,” was elected to the state House in 2004 at the age of 25.

Sciortino is definitely getting the early jump on the rest of the congressional field, but it is possible there will be no race. Markey must first win the special Democratic primary against Boston Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), and then secure the general election versus a weak Republican in late June.

Acknowledging that there is a scenario where Markey doesn’t win the Senate seat, state Sen. William Brownsberger (D) said that he, too, would enter a special congressional race if a vacancy eventually occurs.

The 5th District is, like all nine of Massachusetts’ congressional districts, heavily Democratic. President Obama carried 65.1 percent of the vote here in 2012. The seat wraps around the north and west of Boston, encompassing the towns of Winthrop, Revere, Markey’s home of Malden, Melrose, Lexington, and Framingham.

More Iowa Intrigue

The Democrats are adding some further pressure to Rep. Tom Latham’s (R-IA-3) political decision-making process. While the Republican congressman acknowledges giving consideration to the state’s open US Senate seat with Sen. Tom Harkin (D) retiring, investor Michael Sherzan, an individual who Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) officials identify as one of their leading national recruiting prospects, announced that he will challenge Latham in the 3rd District next year.

Sherzan’s move is an interesting one because it eliminates the possibility that Latham will have a free ride to re-election in his marginal Des Moines-anchored congressional district (Obama ’12: 51.4 percent).

Since the congressman is staring at another tough political contest regardless of where he decides to run, Sherzan likely figures that his own fast announcement might give Latham enough reason to commit to a Senate run. An open 3rd CD would certainly outline a more favorable victory path for the wealthy political newcomer than challenging an incumbent who just defeated a veteran Democratic congressman (Leonard Boswell) in a 2012 inter-party incumbent pairing election. Because Iowa lost a congressional seat in reapportionment, the state’s 2011 redistricting plan placed Reps. Latham and Boswell together in one seat.

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