Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Markey Wins; Now Faces Investor Gomez

In Election Analysis, Senate on May 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

As projected, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) defeated his House Democratic colleague, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), in last night’s special US Senate party primary election. Markey racked up an expected 57-43 percent margin over Lynch, with a turnout of more than 530,000 Democratic voters. All of the candidates are vying for Secretary of State John Kerry’s Senate seat, now held by interim Sen. Mo Cowan (D).

Both men racked up strong percentages in the congressional districts they represent; Markey in the 5th District north and west of Boston, and Lynch in the 8th CD anchored in the area south of Massachusetts’ capital city including the towns of Quincy, Brockton, and Fall River. Lynch also carried the central region of the state nestled in between the cities of Worcester and Springfield, as well as the area around the city of Lowell and the New Hampshire border territory. Markey was strong in virtually other part of the state, thus accounting for his lopsided victory.

When all of the expenditures are totaled, Markey will have exceeded the $5 million mark in spending; Lynch a little over $2 million.

On the Republican side, private equity investor and former US Navy veteran Gabriel Gomez convincingly won his primary, defeating former US Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Dan Winslow. Gomez scored 51 percent to Sullivan’s 36 percent and Winslow’s 13 percent. Just over 182,000 Republicans participated in their primary election. Late polling also forecast Gomez to be leading the GOP field, but sample sizes from the public polls were so small as not to be considered reliable.

The Gomez expenditure level is not clear at this point in time, but the other two Republican candidates spent less than $300,000 on their campaigns.

The special general, which is scheduled for June 25, appears to be Markey’s to lose. As we all know, Massachusetts is one of the most loyal Democratic states in the nation, and the party leaders are taking no chances with this campaign in light of the 2010 special election results when then-state senator Scott Brown (R) upset Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) for the right to replace the late Ted Kennedy (D).

But, Gabriel Gomez is an interesting candidate. He is a self-made businessman having grown up in Los Angeles to Columbian parents, won entrance into the Naval Academy, and then became a Navy SEAL upon graduation and spent much of his active duty service as a pilot.

Gomez has the potential of attracting national attention. With his Hispanic heritage and diverse background, he could become the type of candidate for whom the Republicans thirst. But, it remains to be seen if the National Republican Senatorial Committee will fund the race or concede it in the face of difficult voting patterns and opposing a majority party whose leaders will leave no stone unturned in order to secure a Markey victory.

The winner will enter the Senate immediately upon his election. Since the seat is in-cycle for 2014, the new Senator will serve only the balance of this Congress. He is eligible to run, however, for a full six-year term in the regular election. Though this campaign has yet to produce any surprises so far, Gomez’s presence in the general election could make things more intriguing than originally expected.

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