Monday, February 25, 2013
MA Special Senate Election – Markey has nod from DNC, but Keep Eye on Lynch – MA GOP – Gomez Appears Capable, Sullivan Not Yet Announced – All Candidates Lack Name Recognition.
The MA Candidates (and potential candidates): Ed Markey(D), Stephen Lynch(D),Gabriel Gomez(R) and Michael Sullivan (R) - images: Markey and Lynch BostonGlobe, Gomez-Boston Herald and Sullivan, Patriot Ledger
The Massachusetts Special Election will take place on June 25th, with primaries held on the 30th of April, and a field that is generally unknown to the majority of Massachusetts voters. That may change, of course, depending on the following factors, Grassroots, airtime and the candidate’s ability to connect and generate turnout. The turnout is generally the big if in MA special elections - , and when a candidate does not, in a short time, connect with the electorate through grass roots organizing to pull ahead, the results of the race normally goes to the party machine that can pull together the votes, namely the Democrats in MA. Scott Brown in 2010 is the best example of a grass roots campaign that exploded and sent him to the Senate, despite the best efforts of the State DNC. The aforementioned tend to blame Martha Coakley, who ran as the opposition Democrat for the loss. However, although Coakley was not the most vibrant candidate, in Massachusetts, the D in front of one’s name in a low turnout election would seal the deal. Brown literally drove across the state and met with individuals, he connected at a time when disgust for Washington among the 50 plus percent of unenrolled Massachusetts voters was high.
In the bid to replace Kerry’s seat in Washington, a long-serving, but little known, Congressional Rep, may have a harder time against a non-politician, given the general distaste for the Congress, and Washington in General. The only candidate that has announced (pending 10,000 signatures due on the 27th of February – in order to qualify for the ballot – with an addition 5,000 for insurance should any of the signatures not meet requirements) that is not already serving in Congress or other official capacity is Gabriel Gomez. Gomez, a first generation Columbian American, is a former Navy Pilot and Navy Seal, who works for a Boston based investment firm and sounds more “unenrolled” than either Republican or Progressive or Democrat. That may be the ticket in getting those, generally uninterested, unenrolleds to vote in the primary and the special election.
Name recognition however, may be at issue. Although Gomez is garnering national and local media attention prior to the submission of required signatures, the only other candidates to do so are Ed Markey, and Stephen Lynch, two Democrats that have graced Congress for Decades, but known only in their own districts, one out of 9 left in the State of Massachusetts.
Former Republican Attorney General Michael Sullivan is also considering a run for the Senate, pending signatures, again, a candidate that has served at the State and Federal Level, but, not in Congress, which regardless of whether one is a Democrat or Republican in that body, generally not a peoples favorite at this point.
Gomez is garnering a considerable amount of media attention for two reasons, one he is a Hispanic running for Senate in Massachusetts, and second he is a Republican Hispanic running for Senate in Massachusetts.
Given the fact that the make-up of the Commonwealth, demographically, is, according to the U.S. Census below the national average when it comes to “minorities” – with 81% Caucasian, 7.8% African American’s and 9.9% Hispanic, with 7.7% of those surveyed in 2010-2011 considering themselves White/Hispanic. With Gomez already actively courting the Hispanic vote in the Bay State, he may have the edge, again, especially during low-turn-out.
On this bloggers preferences, Lynch on the Democrat side appears to be the one who at least bucks his party once in a blue-moon (See Voting Record at project votesmart.org). He has also spent less time in Congress, compared to his opposition, Ed Markey. Markey is a “rubber-stamp” party voter who has graced the Halls of Congress since 1976. (Project vote smart) – In other words, part of the problem in Washington is the deeply entrenched, long-serving politicians, who are more interested in the power of the position than in serving the public.
On the Republican side, Gomez is the most interesting of the candidates, no prior government experience, and someone who believes in the ability to change the government, making it part of the solution, not the problem.
All candidates will have the problem of getting their name out to those voters who are a) low-information (do not watch the news, read a paper, or otherwise care), and grab a piece of the pie that’s left. The Democrat who makes it through the primary will have the advantage of a higher Democrat identified voter count (approximately 36%); The Republican will have the 11% Republican identifiers, and will need to garner the balance from the unenrolleds, and Democrats who may not be enamored of the party candidate. It can be done, it’s been done before, by someone who quickly identified with the individual, criss-crossing the state, and making an impression that far outweighed the money spent on television advertising, which, one can be sure, is necessary in this electronic age. The media will, it is assumed pre-nominate the individual with the longest serving record in Washington due to “experience”.