It will be Democrat Edward Markey against Republican Gabriel Gomez June 25 in Massachusetts' latest U.S. Senate election, an intriguing match-up between a Washington veteran and a political newcomer with an appealing back story.
Representative Markey, who defeated fellow Representative Steve Lynch, will run on his accomplishments in Washington as a veteran elected official. Having a voting record can be a benefit or a detriment, however, and Mr. Gomez will surely try to portray the Democrat as part of the problem in Washington.
Scott Brown proved four years ago that a Republican can win a Massachusetts special election when he garnered enough independent votes to win the seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. That's the template for Mr. Gomez, who emerged from nowhere and successfully campaigned as a non-politician dedicated to bipartisanship. That strategy worked beautifully in a Republican primary race against traditional Republicans Michael Sullivan and Daniel Winslow. Mr. Gomez, the son of Colombian immigrants, has been a Navy pilot and SEAL and launched a career in private equity after earning an MBA at Harvard Business School.
Mr. Gomez, however, faces the same challenge Senator Brown failed to overcome last year in his unsuccessful bid for re-election -- the unpopularity of a national Republican Party that has become far more extremist and uncompromising over the past four years. Mr. Gomez will have to convince voters his independence won't vanish if he is elected.
In North Adams, voters narrowly approved the Conte School Renovation Project, which was brought to the ballot by a citizens petition. The project will cost $29.7 million, with the Massachusetts School Building Authority committed to providing $23.2 million in funds, and the loss of that funding would have been a huge blow. The best way for city officials to overcome the obvious skepticism of much of the electorate is by executing the plan efficiently and staying within the $6.5 million the city has allotted for the project.