Rep. Edward J. Markey easily defeated fellow Rep. Stephen F. Lynch in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry and will be the favorite against Republican businessman and onetime Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez in a special election to take place June 25.
Mr. Markey, first elected to the House in 1976, won with about 57 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, while Mr. Gomez got 51 percent of the vote in a three-way GOP contest against former U.S. Attorney Mike Sullivan, who received 36 percent, and state Rep. Dan Winslow, who got 13 percent.
National Republicans are hopeful that Mr. Gomez, a political neophyte, can pull off a repeat of the 2010 special election in Massachusetts, when insurgent Republican underdog Scott Brown rode a tea party wave to victory over Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley to fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
But Democrats are determined not to let that happen. Mr. Markey arguably delivered a backhanded compliment to Mr. Brown Wednesday morning, when he pushed Mr. Gomez to take the same pledge Mr. Brown and now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren did in their 2012 campaign not to accept money from outside groups that don’t disclose their donors.
“What Gabriel Gomez is saying is he’s a new kind of Republican, but he is saying he’s going to accept all of that money — it’s undisclosed, it’s unlimited,” Mr. Markey said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown. “It is unseemly to have that kind of outside influence not be known by the voters of the state of Massachusetts as they would be casting their ballots.”
“I have a lot of experience, and I think Congressman Markey has a lot of political experience,” Mr. Gomez said earlier in the program. “And I just think that right now we need real, practical, real-world experience — you know, being in the military for nine years, having been a pilot and a SEAL, having a lot of leadership, and then also being in the private sector, the real world, working with companies and knowing how the economy works. Because right now the No. 1 issue people are facing, that I keep [talking] about, is the economy and the $16 trillion in debt and trying to get jobs back into the business and having companies start hiring again. That’s the experience people are concerned about.”
Mr. Gomez said he would have voted for the recent bill to expand gun-purchase background checks to sales online and at gun shows, but does not support bans on semiautomatic, military-style weapons or high-capacity magazines.
Mr. Gomez, whose parents are Colombian immigrants, said he supports the “Gang of 8” immigration proposal currently being hashed out in the Senate. He said he’s personally pro-life, but added that “I’m not going down there to change the law. … Roe v. Wade’s been around for 40 years and it’s settled law in Massachusetts.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick appointed Sen. William “Mo” Cowan, his former chief of staff, to fill Mr. Kerry’s seat until the special election. Independent Richard Heos will also be on the ballot June 25.