How much should national Republicans invest in the effort to elect Gabriel Gomez in Massachusetts’s special Senate election June 25?
Some evidence — such as this poll commissioned by the Gomez campaign — points to an extremely competitive race:
The May 5–7 poll of 800 likely special-election voters by OnMessage, Inc., a Republican political consulting firm, found [Democrat Ed] Markey leading [Republican Gabriel] Gomez 46 percent to 43 percent, with 11 percent undecided. According to an OnMessage polling memo, respondents “were stratified by county based on previous election results to reflect historic voter trends.”
On the other hand, WBUR had Markey up by 8 among likely voters with leaners (46 percent to 38 percent) and Suffolk put Markey up 52 percent to 35 percent.
Even an incompetent Markey campaign will still enjoy the advantage of running in a heavily Democratic state, and Gomez’s task will be supremely difficult if he doesn’t get significant financial support from national Republicans and conservatives. Right now, national Republican and conservative groups are weighing that decision.
The NRSC is debuting a new web video, pointing out that Markey was caught up in the notorious House Bank scandal 20 years ago and consistently voted to increase his own salary.
As a Massachusetts Republican, Gomez is not a down-the-line conservative by any stretch. Massachusetts talk-radio host Michael Graham deems Gomez unsupportable because of the candidate’s past support for Barack Obama. Gomez says he wants to close “the gun-show loophole” and also says he’s pro-life but “Roe v Wade is settled law. Politicians spend way too much time on divisive issues that are already decided and far too little time on fixing our economy.” He supports same-sex marriage. He backs a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants with no criminal record.
On the other hand, Gomez says he backs a secure border, supports the Keystone pipeline, and says Obamacare is “ignoring or compounding the underlying costs of health care.” Plus he has a sterling background for a senator: graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, platoon leader in the Navy SEALs, MBA from Harvard Business School and successful entrepreneur and Little League coach. He’ll be a vote for Mitch McConnell to be Senate majority leader instead of Harry Reid. And if the party wants to do better among Hispanics, why not make a solid effort to elect the third Latino Republican senator, as Gomez is a son of Colombian immigrants?
The new revelations of the Benghazi hearings and the IRS scandal probably energized the GOP base. The coming months or year may feel a lot like the political environment of 2009 and 2010.
Finally, if Markey were to win narrowly, would even that result reinforce the notion that the political environment has tilted in favor of the GOP? Republicans shocked the opposition by winning in South Carolina’s special election, and should have a breeze in a Missouri House special election. The New Jersey governor’s race doesn’t look competitive, and Cuccinelli is off to the better start in Virginia. Undoubtedly, the GOP’s campaign committees would love to enter 2014 having swept every competitive special election.