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Kerry's Departure For Diplomacy Leads To Markey's Elevation To Senate

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2013 should have been an off-year for statewide politics in Massachusetts, but that was not the case, as the state’s voters were called upon to elect another new U.S. Senator

The election cycle actually began in late 2012 when President Obama nominated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to be U.S. Secretary of State. After securing Senate confirmation in January, Kerry resigned from the Senate seat he had held for 28 years.

Kerry’s departure elevated U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren to be Massachusetts’ senior Senator with just 28 days in office.  She was joined in the Senate by William “ Mo” Cowan—Governor Deval Patrick’s friend and former chief of staff—who was appointed interim Senator until the special election in June. Quickly, the long time Ted Kennedy-John Kerry Senate stronghold in the Bay State was a memory.

Senator Cowan had the distinction of being the first Senator from Massachusetts to serve on the Agriculture Committee since 1879

Ed Markey, who had represented an eastern Massachusetts Congressional district for 37 years, quickly established himself as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in the special election to succeed Kerry.  Markey lined up endorsements from progressive groups and faced just one challenge in the April primary from fellow Massachusetts Congressman Stephen Lynch.

Markey held his frontrunner status throughout the spring primary campaign, which was a mostly cordial contest with the exception of some brief fireworks during a debate in Springfield.

Markey got 57 percent of the primary vote to defeat Lynch

Former Republican Senator Scott Brown kept people guessing about whether he would run until early February, when he opted out.  Massachusetts Republicans turned to a first- time candidate with a compelling personal story. Gabriel Gomez, a son of Columbian immigrants, a former Navy SEAL, Harvard graduate, and successful private equity advisor won the three-way Republican primary.

Markey ran a low- profile campaign in the six weeks leading up to the June 25th special election with few public appearances.

The Democrats’ vaunted get out the vote machine delivered and Markey crushed Gomez to become the freshman Senator from Massachusetts.

Markey will face re-election in 2014, which is shaping up to be a very busy year in Massachusetts politics.  Governor Patrick is not seeking a third term.  Attorney General Martha Coakley and State Treasurer Steve Grossman are both  running for governor, leaving those statewide offices without incumbents.

The office of Lieutenant Governor has been vacant since Tim Murray resigned in June.

Scott Brown sold his house in Massachusetts and moved to New Hampshire, where there is speculation he may run for Senate in2014 or President in 2016.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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