Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Could Gabriel Gomez Pull a 'Scott Brown' and Win Massachusetts Senate Race?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Could Gabriel Gomez Pull a 'Scott Brown' and Win Massachusetts Senate Race?

Article excerpt

The next US senator from Massachusetts will be either Rep. Ed Markey or Gabriel Gomez, who won primary votes Tuesday to become the Democratic and Republican Party nominees.

Representative Markey emerges from the primary as the clear front- runner.

He's well known locally as the state's longest-serving current member of Congress. And he's a Democrat in a state where that party is clearly dominant. The Bay State's congressional delegation is all Democratic.

That leaves the question: With about eight weeks until the June 25 special election to decide this race, what chance does the Republican have?

Mr. Gomez, a businessman and former Navy SEAL, is obviously the underdog, but here's the optimistic case for his candidacy in two words: Scott Brown.

Mr. Brown was a state senator back in 2009, little known around the state, yet came on to win an upset special election for the US Senate seat vacated when Sen. Edward Kennedy died. That vote was proof positive that a political moderate, with some charisma, can win a statewide election.

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Like Brown, Gomez is relatively young, moderate, and a man with a record of military service. Where Brown could cite his service in the Army National Guard, the newest Republican nominee served in the Navy's most-storied special ops branch. He's also a fresh face.

All that means: Don't count him out.

But at the same time, none of that changes Markey's distinct advantages.

He's already a holder of elective office and has behind him the Democratic machinery of a party eager not to repeat the mistakes - and the outcome - of that 2010 special election.

Moreover, 2013 isn't 2010. The climate that helped enable Brown's victory back then was one of political volatility in the immediate wake of a financial crisis - a volatility also seen in the tide of Tea Party victories later that year. …

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