It’s Markey vs. Gomez
By Allison Thomasseau
Boston University Statehouse Program
BOSTON—U.S. Rep. Ed Markey celebrated his primary election victory against U.S. Stephen Lynch in downtown Boston Tuesday night, while warning supporters of a long road ahead against Republican contender Gabriel Gomez.
“I will be a strong, passionate voice for working families across our state,” Markey said in his acceptance speech. “I will take on the big issues and I will get results for all of the people of our commonwealth, but this election will not be easy.”
Markey and Lynch have been in competition since January to be the Democratic nominee to fill U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s Senate seat. Gomez, a Cohasset businessman, was the Republican victor in the three-way race among State Sen. Dan Winslow, R-Norfolk, and former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan.
Markey’s party at the Omni Parker House ballroom was attended by some 500 boisterous supporters, including many of the state’s Democratic leaders, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman and state Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Decorations included blue, white, and red balloons and Markey’s campaign posters. Guests noshed on sautéed squash and asparagus and brie and goat cheese while watching the results come in on TV.
Despite maintaining a lead in the vote count throughout the evening, Markey waited until around 10:30 p.m. to come out on stage to the sound of Jackie Wilson’s (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.
Markey highlighted gun control, women’s issues, and climate change as big issues he wants to tackle in the Senate. But he said the most important issue of this election was Gomez’ refusal take the “People’s Pledge” not to accept unlimited outside money.
“He’s saying very clearly that he’s going to welcome in the Koch brothers and Karl Rove, and all of these outside interests into Massachusetts,” Markey said. “He’s not going to take the same pledge Scott Brown took.”
Warren cautioned that the Senate race was not over, and alluded to the 2009 election between Coakley and former Sen. Scott Brown where Coakley lost by a slim margin.
“We know what’s at stake, we will not let our guard down, and we will not rest until June 25,” she told the crowd.
Coakley praised Markey for carrying the same political agenda as Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“He is experienced in working across the aisle and we need somebody with Elizabeth Warren to move Washington out of the deadlock that it’s in,” Coakley said in an interview.
Facing a tight timeline and suspended campaigning after the Boston bombings, both candidates battled low turnout levels, which could continue for the general election.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin predicted Monday that 750,000 out of 4 million of eligible voters, or 18.8 percent, would vote in this election. Of those voters, Galvin predicted 550,000 would vote in the Democratic primary, down from 669,000 who turned out for the 2009 Democratic primary where Attorney General Martha Coakley won.
Supporters were concerned that low turnout could have influenced the race between Markey and Lynch.
“People don’t take it as seriously as a one-on-one [in the general election], and that’s why I made sure I voted, because my one vote might cost this race,” said Vanessa Martin, a Boston supporter of Markey.
Brent Gilbert, a Boston lawyer, said Markey has a long campaign ahead of him, but has an advantage over Gomez.
“A big part of politics is knowing how to play the game,” he said. “We say we want change, but Markey has been in Congress, and he has experience.”