Lynch, Markey Agree to 6 Debates in Senate Primary
BOSTON – The Senate campaigns of U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch and Edward Markey announced on Monday that they have reached agreement on a framework for six debates across the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The congressmen are running for the Democratic nomination in the special election to fill the Senate seat of Secretary of State John Kerry. The primary is April 30.
The agreement calls for three public, general issue debates in Boston, Worcester and Springfield, as well as debates on jobs and the economy, domestic policy and foreign policy. Debates will also be held in Lowell and New Bedford, with the sixth location to be determined. Debate hosts have not been finalized, but are expected to include local media consortiums.
The Berkshire News Network in Pittsfield has offered to host one of the debates to be broadcast across Berkshire County.
"I am glad that we have reached agreement on debates and look forward to getting started as soon as possible," said Lynch in a statement. "While I would be happy to debate more frequently, the reality is that we have nine weeks left in this election, and both Ed and I have to spend time in Washington trying to fix the budget mess. So I think this debate schedule makes sense given the tight timeframe of the election."
"This agreement ensures we will debate the issues that are most important to Massachusetts in regions throughout the commonwealth," said Markey, also in a statement. "Voters deserve to hear in-depth debates on the issues facing the state and the nation, and I look forward to scheduling these as soon as possible."
Both campaigns will be working out specific dates and details with various media outlets.
Reception Planned for Senate Candidate Markey
|U.S. Rep. Edward Markey|
The public reception for to U.S. Rep. Edward Markey has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 5 to 7 at Itam Lodge in Pittsfield.
Update: The reception for Rep. Markey has been postponed because of Friday's snowstorm to a date to be announced later.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Brigades is sponsoring a reception for U.S. Rep. Edward Markey on Friday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 7 at Itam Lodge. The reception is free and open to the public.
Markey, 66, formally announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate seat that had been held by John Kerry, who was confirmed as secretary of state last week.
The Malden Democrat has served in Congress for 36 years, representing the 7th Massachusetts District, and was elected to the 5th District last year after redistricting.
U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston, who served for 12 years representing the 9th District before being elected in the 8th District last year, has also announced for the Democratic nomination. So far, no Republican nominee has come forward. The last day to submit nomination papers is Feb. 27.
The primary is scheduled for April 30 and the special election for June 25.
Patrick Appoints Interim Senator; Special Election Set for June 25
BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick appointed William "Mo" Cowan as interim U.S. Senator, filling the seat left vacant by U.S. Sen. John Kerry. Patrick also announced that the special election to fill Kerry's seat will be held on June 25.
Senator Downing Weighing U.S. Senate Run
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Benjamin Downing could soon have an opportunity to join the "center of the debate" by bringing a fresh face and energy to U.S. Senate.
The senator, who was just elected to his fourth term, hasn't hidden that he wants to move up the in the political ranks. Last year, he weighed the possibility of running for the U.S. House. Now with what many are considering the imminent appointment of U.S. Sen. John Kerry as secretary of the state, Downing is prepared to mount a campaign in a special election for that seat.
If he decides to run.
"Why I am considering it is why I got into politics in the first place," the Pittsfield Democrat said on Thursday. "If you care about economic development, the center of the debate is in the U.S. Senate."
Downing is one of several Democrats reportedly exploring the possibility of running. U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Michael E. Capuano, and Edward J. Markey have all hinted at running for the nomination; Attorney General Martha Coakley has not ruled out a second try for the Senate.
There also has been fringe talk of two well-known names entering the race — Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy Jr. (who lives in Connecticut but owns a home at the Kennedy compound on the Cape) and actor and Oscar winner Ben Affleck, who's been involved with Democratic campaigns, including Elizabeth Warren's unseating of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.
Who actually enters the race is on all of their minds. Downing is waiting to see who is planning to run and then developing and examining his campaign strategy to see if he has a "legitimate" shot at winning.
"Successful statewide races are not handed to people who are the next in line," Downing said, believing he can energize both the Democratic base and unenrolled voters.
Brown himself has signaled that he may resurface as the Republican candidate, noting in his farewell speech on the Senate floor that "victory and defeat is temporary." The special election — and the timing — would be similar oddly enough to the circumstances that propelled the still popular Brown into the Senate the last time around.
Downing and Brown served together in the state Senate, although Brown also served three terms in the House before moving up to the Senate two years before Downing. Downing, of Pittsfield, easily won his first election and has run unopposed his last three terms for the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin district, the largest district geographically.
The move would be a large jump for the 31-year-old but not one that hasn't been done before.
"While it is a significant step, it is one Scott Brown and Barack Obama took," Downing said. "I believe I can stand toe to toe with Scott Brown."
Downing knows how brutal campaigns for a national seat can be — he was recently part of the Warren campaign that defeated Brown — and he says he is ready for it.
"When it comes, I will be ready to take the step," Downing said, adding that he is ready to hit the ground running if he decides to make the "hard decision" of entering the race.
Democrats Open North County Campaign Office
The Ashland Street office has been opened but Thursday Democratic leaders held a grand opening.
The Ashland Street office will serve as headquarters primarily for canvassers for the Elizabeth Warren campaign for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Scott Brown but will be open for any campaign.
"It'll be for whoever needs it for the Democrats," Joyce Wrend, a member of the North Adams Democrat City Committee member, said. "We really want this to be for the Northern Berkshires."
There is already a Democratic Party office in Pittsfield.
Campaign volunteers have been using homes to organize canvasses, which have already knocked on more than 3,000 doors, said Ed Sedarbaum, who is organizing canvassing efforts for Warren. Sedarbaum hopes to turn the new storefront office into a call center as well.
"This is going to be a great place to work out of," Sedarbaum said.
Outside of special organizational meeting, the office is expected to be opened for two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening.
North County has no races for the November election, with state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing running unopposed.
Neal recently visited the new office to thank his supporters for helping him win the primary election. His campaign donated $500 toward the office last week, with Neal saying it was important to support grass roots efforts. City Committee Chairman Greg Roach said at the time that the party existed to get Democratic politicians elected and to support Democratic policies. It was important for it to be involved at the local level, he said, whether or not there was Republican or other opposition.
The office will also make available placards, lawn signs and bumper stickers for President Barack Obama and Warren.
Some Democratic leaders showed up early to check out the new office.
"I think she is focused, inspiring and will make a big difference," he said.
So far he has nearly 450 volunteers for the campaign and while not all of them will actually donate time, groups of up to 22 have been rallying support for Warren throughout the county since July.
That campaign has really picked up steam recently picked up with the airing of debates and increase in political advertising. Berkshire Brigade's President Lee Harrison said the turning point was at the recent debate. While Brown pulled ahead in polls prior to last week's debate, Harrison is confident that her performance there "turned the corner."
"She will be a national figure when she's elected," Harrison said.