Markey Takes Special Senate Election, Berkshires
|Republican Gabriel Gomez, left, took an early lead but longtime Democratic Congressman Edward Markey was declared the winner just over an hour after the polls closed.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Edward Markey is moving on — from one side of the Capitol to the other.
The veteran Malden congressman was holding a 7-point lead at about 9:15 p.m. when the special election for U.S. Senate was called in his favor on Tuesday.
Early returns were showing Republican Gabriel Gomez leading Markey by large margins in smaller communities in central Mass and on the outskirts of Boston.
But by 9, Markey was gliding past his Republican opponent. He took the state's largest communities, including Boston and its immediate environs, and appeared to have a lock on the Berkshires with only Savoy left to report in.
Expectations were low for turnout throughout the state. Polls closed at 8 p.m. but the Boston Globe noted that by 6, the number of voters who had cast ballots was just over half that compared to 2010's special Senate election that catapulted then state Sen. Scott Brown into Congress. Chicopee, however, was reporting a higher than expected number of voters.
There were concerns that voters were fatigued by three Senate elections in as many years, the last one a hard-fought campaign between Republican Brown and Democratic victor Elizabeth Warren.
The Berkshires was appearing to remain true blue according to unofficial returns. In North Adams, Markey easily outpaced Gomez 1115 to 413 and, in Lenox, 964 to 294. Williamstown also, and not surprisingly, went blue with the Malden Democrat taking 1,295 votes to the Cohasset Republican's 282, making it one of Gomez's worst and Markey's best towns, according to Boston.com. Great Barrington also backed Markey 1,178 to 265.
Otis, which went for Brown in the last special election, was closer but Markey maintained his Berkshires blowout 157 to 121.
North Adams City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau had been pessimistic early on in the day, expecting perhaps a 10 percent turnout at most. There were no signs or supporters outside the main polling station at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center.
"You wouldn't know there was an election except for the [traffic] cones in the road," said Gomeau, referring to the cones warning drivers to slow for people - very few of them - to cross the street from the parking lot. At least, she said, the weather had mostly cooperated.
"If you going to have to do it, this is the kind of day to hold it on," she said.
Markey and Gomez were running to replace John Kerry, who resigned to become U.S. secretary of state. The third candidate on the ballot, Richard A. Heos, garnered a handful of votes.
For a complete breakdown, see the Boston.com's election results page.