Massachusetts voters go to the polls to pick their next senator on June 25, three weeks from now. Isn’t it a little late for the Democratic nominee, Ed Markey, to be gallivanting across the country to do Hollywood fundraisers? “Markey will be raising money at the Beverly Hills home of Haim and Cheryl Saban on Sunday, with tickets starting at $1,000 per person.”
Apparently money is on the mind of the Democratic favorite; with charisma, a stirring message, or other traditional measures of enthusiasm tepid so far, Markey appears to be relying on overwhelming Republican Gabriel Gomez with a tidal wave of cash:
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Edward J. Markey is stepping up his fundraising going into the final weeks of the campaign — coordinating with the state Democratic Party to help cover bills as he ramps up ad buys and voter outreach.
Markey and the party have jointly hired fundraiser Jon Patsavos, who worked for Gov. Deval Patrick and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, to help pump up fundraising before the June 25 election. Patsavos will raise money for the Markey Grassroots Victory Fund to help cover get-out-the-vote and advertising costs in support of Markey.
Markey has spent $3,160,945 as of April 10; Gomez has spent $682,605.
Ed Markey’s campaign is happy to remind you that he was first elected to Congress in 1976.
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.
The nascent Gomez campaign is touting the good early reviews for their man:
“He’s announcing himself in Spanish first, just as he learned to speak it first. But personal narrative aside, his emphasis will likely appeal to a Republican Party that’s striving to find ways to address the fact that Latinos made up 10 percent of the 2012 electorate . . .” (Eric Randall, “Gabriel Gomez’s First Words as a Senate Candidate Are in Spanish,” Boston Magazine, 02/12/13)
“Gomez’ message of bipartisanship is similar to that of Brown, who lost his seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.” (Joe Battenfeld & Hillary Chabot, “Ex-Navy SEAL Officially Launches Senate Campaign,” Boston Herald, 02/12/13)
“The next Scott Brown? Ex-Navy SEAL, son of Columbian immigrants enters #MASEN race.” (Josh Kraushaar, Twitter, 02/12/13)
“Gomez is the son of Colombian immigrants, and he begins and ends a Web video announcing his candidacy by speaking in Spanish. In the video, Gomez touts his outsider credentials, declaring his intention to run ‘a very different kind of campaign.’” (Sean Sullivan, “Gabriel Gomez Launches Massachusetts Senate Bid,” Washington Post, 02/12/13)
“My @BostonHerald story on Gabriel Gomez announcing US Sen camp….in Spanish first. Good first move by GOP.” (Joe Battenfeld, Twitter, 02/12/13)
“Gomez, the son of Colombian immigrants and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is the kind of candidate that the national Republican Party wants to see more often.” (Catalina Camia, “GOP’s Gabriel Gomez Joins Mass. Senate Race,” USA Today, 02/12/13)
“Gomez could provide Republicans not only with a credible candidate in the race, but also give them another potentially compelling voice as the party pursues outreach to Hispanic voters.” (Elahe Izadi, “Is Gabriel Gomez the Next Scott Brown?” National Journal, 02/13/13)