Gabriel Gomez is getting a lot of last minute help in the Massachusetts Senate special election race, the majority of which is from his opponent. In an election that the Democrats should have locked up, Gomez, a moderate Republican, has made huge inroads. This has been especially true most recently as unsavory details have poured out of Democratic candidate Ed Markey’s past and present.
Last week, Arizona Senator John McCain, a moderate Republican and former Republican presidential nominee, joined Gomez on the road in Massachusetts. He referred to Gomez as “the next generation of leadership in this country,” and went on to say that Gomez is “a bipartisan pol needed to bring balance in the Senate.” According to Gomez’s “issues” page, he is arguably quite moderate.
McCain is a decorated veteran and former prisoner of war. During a rally, “Gomez told the crowd of veterans waving flags at the Dorchester Police VFW hall that it is an honor to campaign with ‘a true, true American hero.’”
While McCain’s presence and support helps Gomez, Gomez’s biggest asset is his opponent, Rep. Ed Markey. During Markey’s nearly 40 years in Congress, he hasn’t accomplished much other than repeatedly voting to raise the debt ceiling and voting for irresponsible financial practices — that is, when he decides to vote.
Markey epitomizes the quintessential congressman who has been in office far too long and only remains in office to receive his paycheck. He's missed innumerable votes, including many on key issues and those he touts as issues in which he specializes. It is difficult to understand why DSCC supported him in the primary and why Markey even wanted to run for Senate, considering he has a lacking record.
On his campaign’s “About Ed” page, it is explained that Markey has spearheaded legislation on environmental issues. That is the only issue on which specifics are cited. In a time during which the economy is crushing families, one would expect congressmen to emphasize measures which can be taken to reduce economic burden. But while Markey has sponsored an increasing amount of legislation per congressional term over his tenure as congressman, none has been economic or financial in nature. He has been absent during the progression of much recent legislation which he sponsors. It turns out he has not cast a vote in Congress for weeks.
One can see Markey’s voting record, or lack thereof, here. He has even missed numerous votes on what he touts as his key issue — the environment. This is not just a recent trend. Where does Markey stand when on key issues? The world may never know. He has missed a number of key votes, according to the Washington Post’s U.S. Congress Votes Database, and has missed far more votes than the average House member. How can one expect Markey to be an effective senator when he is neglecting his absolute minimal duties in Congress?
In reference to Markey’s lack of job performance, Gomez stated:
"From skipping votes on important issues like the Keystone Pipeline and jobs for veterans to ducking questions from voters on the campaign trail, Ed Markey thinks he's entitled to this Senate seat … This is the arrogance of Washington. Where I come from in the private sector, if you don't show up for work you don't get paid — much less get a promotion. What are we paying Ed Markey for?"
In the statement, Gomez hints at Markey’s unsavory tax returns. While collecting his pay in Congress, Markey has also been collecting Social Security benefits amounting to $11,600. Worse yet, he “wrote off large payments for mortgage interest, property taxes, and business expenses, in itemized deductions that ranged from a low of $38,378 to a high of $49,066 a year.” This is unethical at best.
Furthermore, in violation of Markey’s own campaign pledge, he has been receiving enormous financial help from outside organizations, namely, NextGen Committee. The organization spent endless sums of money to oppose Markey’s primary challenger, which helped Markey secure the nomination. They are now giving Markey that same help in the general election.
NextGen was formed and is entirely funded by hedge-funder, billionaire, and environmental activist Tom Steyer, to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. The perplexing component is that Markey skipped numerous votes on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Markey even spearheaded legislation to "ensure that oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline is used to reduce United States dependence on Middle Eastern oil." This raises the question, why in the world is NextGen backing Markey so ferociously if he fails to vote against (let alone vote at all) the one thing NextGen protests?
Many supporters of Markey’s primary challenger, Rep. Stephen Lynch, are hesitant to back Markey, and who can blame them? Markey’s record, history, and present are distasteful. Markey seems to be almost intentionally helping his opponent with his constant campaign follies and atrocious record. Gomez’s career as a Navy SEAL and private businessman starkly contrasts with that of Rep. Markey, who only spent five years in the private sector as a lawyer before becoming a congressman in the 1970s. Markey’s poor voting record and tax returns are helping to differentiate himself from the more ethically sound Gomez.