The Massachusetts Democratic Party is now 1-for-2 in recent special elections for U.S. Senate following Representative Edward Markey's victory over Republican challenger Gabriel Gomez on Tuesday. Mr. Gomez's solid showing in the race marks him as someone to watch in state politics, as well as a potential challenger in a Senate rematch in November of next year.
The veteran congressman did not ignite the passion of voters as did Democrat Elizabeth Warren in her victory over incumbent Scott Brown last November, but in fairness it is difficult to engage voters in a special election, especially one whose final weeks coincide with late spring and a Stanley Cup bid by the Boston Bruins. Mr. Markey managed to prevent Mr. Gomez from pulling off a special election upset like the one by Mr. Brown that shocked Democrats a little over three years ago, and he will complete the term of Senator John Kerry, who left the Senate to become U.S. secretary of state.
Berkshire County was solidly blue, as it was for Senator Warren, with Mr. Markey taking every Berkshire community, for the most part by margins far exceeding the margin of his statewide victory. In Pittsfield, where the congressman visited recently, voters cast 4,412 votes for the Democrat and 1,601 for Mr. Gomez.
In the campaign, Mr. Markey stuck to core Democratic issues like women's rights, tougher gun control measures and job creation. He occasionally grew defensive when Mr. Gomez dismissively referred to his many years in Congress that are actually a strength. Mr. Markey was successful in connecting Mr. Gomez to Washington Republicans devoted to obstructing President Obama, who easily carried Massachusetts twice, a strategy Ms. Warren used successfully.
Mr. Gomez's youth, charisma and impressive résumé obviously resounded with many voters, however. In Massachusetts, it seems as if there is always a U.S. Senate race around the corner, and Mr. Gomez may be heard from again soon.