Markey, Gomez Reel In U.S. Senate Campaign Nominations
The polls closed at 8 p.m. in Adams.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Businessman and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez and U.S. Rep. Edward Markey will face off in the special election for U.S. Senate.
The two men — one a veteran congressman, the a other newcomer to the political scene — are vying for the unexpired term of John Kerry, who was appointed U.S. secretary of state in January.
Markey defeated U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin. Gomez defeated former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Daniel Winslow with 50 percent of the vote compared to 36 percent to 13 percent, respectively.
Markey had even stronger support in the Berkshires, where he reeled in 76 percent of the vote. Gomez also had a strong showing with 56 percent of the Berkshire vote.
Both Markey and Lynch made at least two appearances in the Berkshires; Gomez was the only Republican to stop in the county.
In the largest municipality, Pittsfield, voters resoundly chose Markey over Lynch by 1,981 to 577. Gomez earned 302 votes, or 58 percent, of the Republican vote to Sullivan's 143 and Winslow's 72.
Of 27,564 registered voters, only 3,079 ballots were cast — an 11 percent turnout.
The races were closer in the other Berkshire city, North Adams, where Democratic voters chose Markey over Lynch by 1,122 to 736. Gomez was the top Republican vote-getter with 242 votes compared to Sullivan's 137 and Winslow's 63.
In Adams, Markey won 390-160 over Lynch. Gomez also took Adams with 82 votes compared to Sullivan's 34 and Winslow's 10. A total of 678 of 5,852 registered voters (11 percent) went to the ballot box.
Markey had a resounding lead in Williamstown, with 820 votes compared to Lynch's 117. Gomez also won in Williamstown with 72 votes over Sullivan's 31 and Winslow's 20. A total of 1,065 of 4,600 registered voters cast ballots.
The turnout was reportedly low across the state with a race that's stirred up little interest. There have been few if any yard signs and few supporters at standing at the polls.
After two heated elections — the first that saw Republican Scott Brown win a stunning victory to replace the late Democratic icon Ted Kennedy and the second hard-fought run that saw him ousted after barely two years in office by Elizabeth Warren — voters may be weary of Senate battles.
Gomez and Markey will face off in the special election June 25; the winner will have to run in another election for a full term next year.
Markey is the dean of the state’s congressional delegation representing 5th Congressional district since 1976. He was considered the favorite almost immediately after entering the race by picking up key endorsements from high-ranking Democrats and organizations — including Kerry himself.
The 66-year-old Malden resident 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.
On other issues, Markey has aligned himself with Democratic leaders and campaigned in the Berkshires saying he is the best choice to further Democratic policies, including supporting health care reform and pro-choice measures.
The Gomez nomination sets up a battle between the experience politician vs. the outsider. Gomez is in his first campaign for public office and has campaigned on his military and business background — which he did during his campaign stop in the Berkshires.
Gomez is a first-generation American after his parent emigrated from Colombia to California. He went became a Navy pilot and later went through SEAL (Sea, Air, Land Teams) training. He became a class leader and after retiring from the Navy went to Harvard Business School. He then worked 16 years at an investment firm.
Economically, he supports conservative policies but has taken a moderate stance on social issues.