If Gabriel Gomez wins tomorrow’s special election Republican primary in Massachusetts, he has a very good chance of replacing Secretary of State John Kerry in the U.S. Senate. I explained why Gomez is the best candidate in the Republican primary in my last PolicyMic article. However, when taking into account the Democrats in the race, his odds of winning the general election in June look even better.
Polling in this special election has been unsteady, due to both the high number of undecided voters and the high number of independent voters. According to the Republican, “In Massachusetts, independent, or unenrolled, voters, who can vote in either party's primary, constitute 52% of the electorate, making them a prize among political candidates.”
Alone, Gomez’s slight lead in the polls has minimal predictive value, due to the aforementioned factors. However, polls also show that support for Gomez has increased drastically in the last two months. This upward trend is much more noteworthy. It suggests the polls are indeed correct, and Gomez will emerge the victor tonight.
Polls also suggest Congressman Ed Markey will beat Congressman Stephen Lynch in the Democratic primary. The same polling shows Rep. Lynch would more easily defeat any Republican candidate. This means if the respective party nominees are Gomez and Markey, as is likely, this is the best-case scenario for Republicans.
Gomez has a far better chance of winning the general election than the other Republicans in the race, and Democrats know that. Democrats have good reason to be worried. Gomez has substantial appeal that transcends party. He is a moderate Republican – the kind who can be elected with ease in a blue state. Furthermore, Gomez is entirely new to politics as a career, and believes his political outsider status is an asset. He also promises that if elected, he will serve two terms and no more. This is a stark contrast to Markey, who is “is the longest-serving member of both the Massachusetts and New England House delegations” and has been a U.S. Congressman for almost 40 years.
Gomez is the type of candidate over whom constituents can easily fawn. Stephanie Ebbert of the Boston Globe writes that Gomez’s life story is almost too perfect. Gomez is a first-generation American and one of very few people to serve as both a Navy aircraft carrier pilot and a Navy SEAL officer. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School and prospered in business and finance. He believes he embodies the American Dream and has said, "I’m exactly what the American dream is all about. The reason I’m running is I want everybody to have the same chance I had when I was a kid."
Markey, on the other hand, is a lawyer who spent little time in the private sector and has served in Congress since 1976. His story isn’t exactly inspiring today, when many believe term limits for elected officials are necessary because of long-serving members like Markey. On his campaign website, Markey pitches himself foremost by what he has accomplished in the '80s, '90s, and as a state representative in the '70s. He doesn’t describe much that he has spearheaded in Congress, even though he’s been a congressman for nearly 40 years.
If Markey and Gomez emerge as their respective parties’ victors tonight, Democrats will have a long road ahead. Gomez is an incredibly strong candidate with bipartisan appeal, and it won’t be hard for him to defeat someone who has been a congressman for way too long and has little to show for his time in office.