Five candidates are running in Tuesday's primary to determine who will face off to fill the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Voters across the state will be picking the two candidates for a special election to replace John Kerry in the U.S. Senate.
Kerry was appointed as secretary of state in January after serving 28 years in the Senate.
Tuesday's primary will narrow the candidate field down to two — one Republican and one Democrat.
On the Democratic side, voters will choose between Stephen Lynch and Edward Markey, both serving U.S. representatives, and on the Republican side, between businessman Gabriel Gomez, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Daniel Winslow.
Markey is the favorite, garnering the support of many high-profile Democratic political figures — ranging from Kerry himself to Treasurer Steve Grossman, former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. He is leading in most polls.
He has represented the state's 5th Congressional district since 1976, defeating Richard Daly for the seat. Prior to that, he was a state representative for the 16th Middlesex District for three years.
The 66-year-old Malden resident graduated from Boston College in 1968 and Boston College Law School in 1972. He then worked as an attorney in private practices and served in the Army Reserves.
In Congress, he has mostly been associated with energy policies, being the former chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warning and currently sitting on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Natural Resources.
Lynch, however, contends that the political endorsements were merely a way to subvert yet another election. This special election is the third election for the U.S. Senate in as many years.
The 8th Congressional District representative has reeled in the majority of union support in his campaign promoting his "ironworker-turned-politician" background. Lynch grew up in housing projects in South Boston followed his father into iron working, where he became the president of Iron Workers Local 7 Union.
He later attended Wentworth Institute of Technology and eventually Boston College Law School. He then worked as an attorney in a private practice representing unemployed workers and unions as well as doing pro-bono work for residents in Boston Housing Authority properties.
In 1994, he won his first political seat in the state Legislature representing the 4th Suffolk District. In 1996, he won special election to the state Senate and, in 2001, he was elected to what was the 9th Mass District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1999, he earned his master's degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
He currently sits on the Financial Services Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Politically, Lynch is considered more conservative (by Massachusetts standards) because he voted against the Affordable Health Care Act and supports the Keystone Pipeline. He has also been criticized for voting with conservatives on social issues. However, he tends to vote with Democrats on most economic and environmental issues.
Michael Sullivan, on the Republican side, has been leading in most polls and has the most name recognition. Sullivan was appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts by President George W. Bush just three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Helping investigate the attacks was among his first duties in the post.
He was the prosecutor in the criminal trial of "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid and presented charges against Abdullah Khadr, who allegedly sold weapons to the Taliban.
In 2006, Sullivan was appointed by Bush as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and served in that capacity for 2 1/2 years. After leaving the public sector with the election of President Barack Obama, he took a job with Ashcroft Law Firm.
He attended Boston College and later Suffolk University Law School. He worked 16 years with the Gillette Co. before becoming an attorney at a private practice. In 1990, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and resigned in 1995 after being named district attorney for Plymouth County.
Sullivan is considered the most conservative of the candidates. He has found support from the most conservative groups — including some affiliated with the tea party movement who have been running ads in support of his campaign. He is the only candidate that does not support gay marriage.
Gabriel Gomez is also vying for the GOP nomination and his campaign as a political outsider has recently picked up steam. Gomez has been emphasizing his business and military background to call for a senator that is not a "career politician."
Gomez is a first-generation American after his parents emigrated from Colombia. He went into the Naval Academy and became a pilot for four years before applying and being accepted for the SEALS (Sea, Air, Land Teams) training.
He became class leader of SEAL Class 181 and spent three years stationed in South America. He retired from the Navy in 1996 and went to Harvard Business School. He landed a job with the investment firm Advent International and specialized in pension and retirement funds for small and regional businesses.
He resigned to run for the U.S. Senate seat, which is his first political campaign. Economically, he supports conservative policies but has taken a moderate stance on social issues. Gomez is the only Republican candidate to campaign in the Berkshires thus far and has raised the more money than either of his two competitors.
Daniel Winslow is state representative for the 9th Norfolk District. Winslow has served in all three branches of government but is mostly known for his unconventional tactics to get spread his ideas — such as stacking tubs of Fluff, with reporters in tow, outside Gov. Deval Patrick's office during budget hearings or holding "beer pong" tournaments as fundraisers.
His antics have proven to draw attention as he now tries to reinvigorate the Republican Party to appeal more to women, minorities, and young voters. Winslow is economically conservative but socially moderate.
Winslow was the chief legal counsel to former Gov. Mitt Romney and was also the presiding justice in the state Trial Court.
He was raised in Amherst and graduated from Tufts University in 1980 and Boston College Law School in 1983. He later became a senior fellow at the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.
He began his career after graduation at a private law firm and in 1995 was appointed to the state's district court system as a judge. In 2005, he went back to the private sector with the Boston office of Duane Morris, where he represented Scott Brown's 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate.
He then left that firm to run for state House of Representatives and won in 2010 — being re-elected in 2012. He sat on the Judiciary, State Administration and Regulatory Oversight and Rules Committees.
Winslow is the only Republican who supports abortion rights in the campaign but takes a more conservative approach to taxation. He has been known to critique his own party, which has help cast him as a bipartisan leader.
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Clarksburg: Election, May 27; town meeting, May 28
Williamstown: Election, May 13, 7-8; town meeting, May 20, 7 p.m.
The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015
You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.