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For an “off year”, you have to admit that 2013 has been filled with some interesting election storylines. The Virginia Governor race has been so dreadful (in terms of the candidates the state has to offer) that its been absolutely fascinating, the Mark Sanford-Elizabeth Colbert-Busch congressional race had its share of drama and there’s a Senate race gearing up in New Jersey that could be interesting as well.
But another race that’s on the docket is one that’s taking place in Massachusetts to replace the Senate seat that was vacated by current Secretary of State, John Kerry. As we all remember, Massachusetts was the place of the most infamous “special election” over the past decade in which state Sen. Scott Brown took the vacated seat of the late Ted Kennedy over her Democratic challenger, AG Martha Coakley.
In light of the early 2010 battle, and the somewhat surprising announcement of Brown saying that he would not run for Kerry’s old seat, Democrats have pounced on this seat with perhaps their best candidate, Rep. Ed Markey. Markey safely dismantled fellow Rep. Stephen Lynch in a primary earlier in the year and after a slowish start, has seemingly done a solid job campaigning unlike Coakley.
The Republican Party, still remembering its win in 2010, picked the closest thing to a clone of Scott Brown they could find in former Navy SEAL, Gabriel Gomez. Gomez is a younger, telegenic, handsome businessman who partially won because he espoused himself as a moderate. Gomez is almost LITERALLY the aftereffect of an “If They Mated” between Mitt Romney and Scott Brown.
Still, there has been some apprehension lately for Markey supporters and Democrats nationwide. A poll, conducted right after the primaries by PublicPolicyPolling, showed Markey ahead by a slim 44-40 margin over Gomez. For those who are suffering from Special Election Influenza, this was all way too similar to the slim margins Martha Coakley held until Scott Brown surpassed her in the polls prior to the election.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, who were mostly on the sidelines watching the race, has pounced on the opportunity to define Gomez as a “great moderate veteran” type before Ed Markey and Co. could. They released videos and sent plenty of money (and old establishment white guys!) to the Bay Area to excite Republicans (and maybe some conservative-leaning independents) while touting Gomez as the guy to help bring back a Republican Senate majority.
But that’s where everything kind of ends and as of late, Markey has showcased his experience and savvy as it appears he’s beginning to put some healthy distance between him and his rookie challenger.
Gomez has shown to be pretty amateurish when it comes to answering questions about his tax returns, his stances on abortion, and would call Ed Markey “pond scum” over advertisements that the Markey team sent about him.
Markey has continued to look like a statesmen that would be a great addition to the Senate as well as being a true representative of the Massachusetts electorate. Meanwhile Gomez, for all of his pluses, continues to fade and apparently had a very soft showing in a televised debate against the veteran Representative.
But, what should we gain from this as of right now? How can we read into this story and garner conclusions or even get a pulse of what is going on right now?
Well, there are still plenty of answers to be found as we still have an election to run on June 25th of this year. As of now, anything could still happen including a Markey trip-up or a continued Gomez fall.
However, we have to get one thing settled and that’s the fact that not every single race is going to end up like the one in 2010. Ed Markey is not Martha Coakley and Gabriel Gomez isn’t Scott Brown. Special elections are notorious in being sometimes impossible to predict but other times, they are fairly easy to gauge; especially in the run up to the Sanford-Colbert Busch battle.
Now that’s not saying people should get complacent or assume we are at game, set, match either. There’s still work to do, interviews to not mess up and voters still gotta vote.
But, let’s not compare everything to 2010, shall we?