Monday, June 24, 2013

Election Day Tomorrow! Massachusetts Senate Special Election Preview... (June 24, 2013)

It's Election Day tomorrow!  Yes, there are indeed a few elections in 2013, and the Massachusetts Senate special election is certainly a very important one.  Ed Markey, the current representative from Massachusetts’ 5th District, is running against Gabriel Gomez, who is a businessman and a former Navy SEAL.

You will recall the circumstances that engendered this special election…this is the seat long held by John Kerry, who was named by President Obama, of course, as Secretary of State.  Kerry only got the nod when Republicans made it clear they would make the nomination process for U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice extremely difficult, based on her infamous series of talk show appearances in the wake of the Benghazi incident, when she toed the administration’s storyline (that the attacks were inspired by the uprisings in Egypt), a line later proven to be inaccurate.

Thus Obama turned to Kerry, who sailed through the approval process of his Senate colleagues.  Obama in turned named Rice his National Security Advisor, a position that does not require Senate approval, and one which often is the more influential position in administrations, like this one, that tend to manage foreign policy from the West Wing.

The appointment of Kerry set up the uneasy scenario of losing a solid Democratic seat in the Senate, which the Democrats control by a 54-46 margin (including the two Independents that caucus with them), in the special election.  Scott Brown loomed large over this election; he was the Republican that shockingly defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in the 2010 special election in the wake of Ted Kennedy’s death.  Brown subsequently lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the general election of 2012, thus making him available for another run.

But Brown decided not to run.  He may have an eye on the Governorship, or he may simply have been sick of running, especially since, if he won the special election, he would have had to run yet again in 2014…four elections in under five years for the same job!

A number of “celebrity Democrats” were floated as potential candidates before Brown announced he was out, including Ben Affleck, Barney Frank, Edward Kennedy Jr., Victoria Kennedy, Deval Patrick and Niki Tsongas.  None decided to run.

But Ed Markey, a long time representative and a reliable liberal Democrat, emerged and is a highly credible candidate.  He easily won the primary.  Gabriel Gomez is an unknown, though his Navy SEAL background makes for a compelling resume.

Not compelling enough, though, apparently…there have been six polls over the last week, and Markey is ahead on average by a 53-40 margin.  There is fairly wide variation in the polls, but Markey has a comfortable, even dominant lead in each, ranging from 8 to 20 points.

So, get ready to welcome Ed Markey to the Senate tomorrow night…

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