Markey, Gomez Face Off in Massachusetts Special Election

Democrats hope to avoid Scott Brown-like upset in Massachusetts.

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Gabriel Gomez talks to media after a debate sponsored by WBZ-TV and The Boston Globe, Wednesday, April 10, 2013 in Boston.
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It could be Scott Brown redux in the Massachusetts special election to replace former Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat now serving as Secretary of State, following primaries Tuesday, as the results leave a brash young newcomer Republican pitted against a longtime Massachusetts Democrat.

Rep. Ed Markey, a Democrat, defeated his opponent Rep. Stephen Lynch, and is the heavy favorite to win the general election on June 25.

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But his opponent, Gabriel Gomez, is the type of Republican that could get traction in the deep-blue state. He's a businessman, former Navy SEAL and Latino. A political newcomer, Gomez used his speech following his win to take a jab at Markey's long congressional career, which began in 1976.

"It was a lifetime ago; I was playing little league baseball," said Gomez, 47.

Gomez hopes to catch the lightning in a bottle that Brown did when he upset opponent Martha Coakley during the 2010 special election to replace deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy, but the political landscape is far different.

Brown capitalized on the rising tea party and keyed in on being a decisive vote against health care reform if elected. But after the fervor subsided, Brown handily lost his 2012 election.

And Markey, 66, who has served in Congress for decades, should prove to be a more adept opponent than Coakley, who had served as the state's attorney general with limited campaign experience. In a fiery victory speech, Markey laid out a litany of Democratic ideals he would pursue, including gun control reform.

"We need to make the NRA stand for not relevant anymore," he said.

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The primary races, which both Markey and Gomez won fairly easily, were muted by the Boston Marathon bombings that took place April 15. But Republicans, seeing Gomez's potential, will move to keep the race competitive in the liberal state with outside spending.

National Republicans have already begun to rally behind Gomez and reinforce his attack of Markey as old and "out of touch."

"For Massachusetts voters tired of out-of-touch politicians and a dysfunctional Washington, D.C., Gabriel is the right candidate at the right time," Reince Priebus, chairman of the National Republican Party, said in a statement. "He will bring a fresh perspective to the challenges facing the country and the state, helping to move America in the right direction."

Democrats, meanwhile, are painting Gomez as opposed to Massachusetts' values and aiming to connect him to the reputation of the national Republican party.

"Ed Markey knows how to strengthen the middle class and create an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few," said Matt Canter, deputy executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

"The fact is that Gomez opposes a woman's right to choose, sides with the big banks over consumers and would support a Republican agenda that would cut Medicare and Social Security."

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