As expected, Democrats will hold on to the Senate seat that opened up when John Kerry became secretary of State, with Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey defeating Republican Gabriel Gomez in Tuesday’s special election. The Boston Globe reports that Markey had 55 percent of the votes, to Gomez’s 45 percent, with 95 percent of precincts reporting. Markey, who has served in the House for nearly 37 years, wasn’t a particularly electrifying candidate, and on paper Gomez seemed like exactly what the GOP was looking for. The Harvard-educated, former Navy SEAL and businessman is the son of Colombian immigrants, and broke with his party on several issues that might make a difference to left-leaning Massachusetts voters, including climate change, gay marriage, and expanded gun background checks. Democrats say his defeat is proof that the 2010 election of moderate Republican Scott Brown was just a fluke.
In a memo obtained by BuzzFeed, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee proclaimed that the lesson from Brown’s “accidental win” is that “Democrats must never take a race for granted.” NBC News reports that Democratic groups poured $5.2 million into the race, while Gomez had $3 million and the support of one super PAC. While Brown and John McCain campaigned on Gomez’s behalf, Markey benefitted from appearances by President Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, and Bill Clinton. In addition to Gomez’s relative lack of party support, Markey repeatedly attacked Gomez for opposing an assault weapons ban and abortion rights (Gomez is “personally pro-life,” but said he wouldn’t try to change abortion law).
Markey’s win means Democrats will maintain their six-seat majority in the Senate. As for Gomez, there’s speculation that he’s had his eye on the 2014 governor’s race all along — just like the original Scott Brown.