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May 022013
 

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) — Republican Gabriel Gomez is the underdog in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate special election. There’s no other way to look at it when you see the Democratic advantage in voter registration in the very blue state.

But Republicans point to Gomez’s dynamic story, as well as his youth and the public’s dissatisfaction with Congress, as reasons the GOP is dreaming of duplicating Scott Brown’s shocking upset win in 2010.

A Gomez victory would certainly be an upset. The June 25 special election has him pitted against Rep. Ed Markey, a well-established Democrat who has been in the House and campaigning in Massachusetts since 1976.

“I think he’s the underdog, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could defeat Markey,” Tufts political science professor Jeffrey Berry told ABC News. “He’s an attractive candidate with a winning personal story. He’s had success in the military and business worlds… His greatest weakness is that he’s a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.”

Gomez, 47, is the son of Colombian immigrants. He speaks fluent Spanish and often sprinkles his speeches and ads with Spanish. He is a former Navy pilot and SEAL, who also attended Harvard for his MBA and became financially successfully as a private equity entrepreneur. He was able to use that money to help his political career, loaning his primary campaign $600,000, which helped him air television ads.

He has run on a socially moderate but fiscally conservative platform, supporting gay marriage but saying it should be left up to the states. He does oppose abortion personally, citing his Catholicism, but hasn’t called for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

Gomez supported Barack Obama in 2008 and when John Kerry was appointed secretary of state, opening up this seat to a special election, he wrote a letter in January to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick asking for the interim appointment. In the letter he cited his past support of the president, saying he would support Obama’s positions on both gun control and immigration. His opponents jumped on it, but it didn’t seem to hurt him in the primary.

He hasn’t always supported the president. Gomez served as the spokesman for the controversial Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, which aired a 22-minute video three months before the election accusing the president of politicizing the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The group has been fundraising on his behalf.

Gomez is up against the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, who has the backing of Kerry and all the establishment Democrats in the state. Markey has been in the House since he was 30 years old in 1976. He’s a liberal Democrat who has focused on issues like the environment, women’s rights, energy, telecommunication and national security, amongst other issues.

“Recent history says Republicans do really well in Massachusetts in special elections,” longtime GOP strategist and Massachusetts Republican committeeman Ron Kaufman said. He cited Scott Brown and the victory last month by a Republican state legislator in a special election in the heavily Democratic town of Peabody.

“Voters like a stark choice between candidates,” Kaufman said, happily noting the headline on the Boston Globe Wednesday, which read, “Newcomer Gabriel Gomez to face off against veteran Edward Markey.”

“Voters are in record numbers upset with Congress. This is not the time you want to run for Congress after being in Congress since the second Lincoln administration,” he added.

In his victory speech, Gomez struck a bipartisan chord, telling the crowd, “If you are looking for someone who refuses to work with the other party, I’m not your guy… If you are looking for an independent voice, a new kind of Republican, take a look at our campaign. I’d welcome your support.”

Gomez also told supporters, “I will approach this job with a military man’s discipline, a father’s sensitivity and a businessman’s experience.”

Kaufman said that line would be the heart of Gomez’s campaign.

The true heart of the campaign, however, will be trying to paint Markey as a Washington insider who has just been in Congress way too long.

Massachusetts Democratic consultant Mary Ann Marsh said there’s no way this will be another election like the one where Brown upset Democrat Martha Coakley when Coakley and state Democrats did not aggressively take on Brown until it was too late.

“Ed Markey has to run the next seven weeks like his hair is on fire,” Marsh said. “If Massachusetts Democrats learned anything from 2009 and should have been learned long before that…no race is sure in Massachusetts no matter what. You have to run hard you have to run smart and you have to use every resource possible to make sure you win.”

Kaufman avoided comparing Gomez’s upset chances to Brown defeat of Coakley.

“Every race is different,” Kaufman said. “But, this is going to be a real race.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 082013
 

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — William “Mo” Cowan was sworn in as the interim U.S. senator from Massachusetts on Thursday, filling the seat left vacant by new Secretary of State John Kerry.

Upon his swearing-in by Vice President Joe Biden, the Senate erupted into raucous applause.

Cowan is one of two African-Americans in the U.S. Senate but that in itself is historic because it’s never happened before.

On hand for the Democrat’s ceremony was Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only other black Senate member. The two men shook hands and embraced in a warm hug.

Cowan’s time in the Senate is limited because he has no plans to run in the special election scheduled for June 25 that will decide who will fill out Kerry’s term that ends December 2014.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 062013
 

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) — Massachusetts Republicans got a glimmer of hope on Tuesday after days of rejections from heavy-hitting politicians weighing possible runs in the state’s upcoming special election.

Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow said on Tuesday that he is forming an exploratory committee for the U.S. Senate seat vacated when John Kerry went to head the State Department.

“Today I’m taking the necessary steps to form an exploratory committee to test the waters for the U.S. Senate,” Winslow said in a statement on his website.  “We need to fix a broken Washington where progress is being hampered by partisan gridlock.”

This is the closest a Republican has gotten to throwing his or her hat in the ring after a series of higher profile GOP leaders in the state announced that they would be staying away from the race.

Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who was seen as the likely front-runner for the GOP nomination, announced last week that he would be sitting out this round.  

His announcement seemed to open the floodgates for Republicans, kicking off a series of similar decisions from officials thought to be strong options for their party: Former Gov. William Weld, former state Senate minority leader Richard Tisei, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and Tagg Romney, the eldest son of Mitt Romney, have all said thanks but no thanks to the special election.

As for what’s behind the steady stream of rejections, the bottom line is it’s a steep hill to climb.  Any candidate will need to gather 10,000 signatures before the end of February.  That’s a lot of names to gather in a short period of time, but presumably would not have been difficult for well-known candidates like Brown or Weld.  

Another concern is timing.  Massachusetts state law stipulates that the winner of the special election will fill out the rest of the term of the individual whom they were elected to replace.  And Kerry would have been up for re-election in November 2014, meaning that whoever wins that seat in June will face another election in just 17 months.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 042013
 

ABC / Ida Mae Astute(WASHINGTON) — Ready for another Romney run?  Tagg Romney is not.

The Boston Herald reported on Monday that the eldest son of Mitt and Ann Romney is considering a run in the special Senate election in Massachusetts now that former Sen. Scott Brown decided against a run last week.

Two sources close to both Tagg and his father Mitt tell ABC News it’s not going to happen.  One consideration for Tagg may be that his father lost the Bay State in last year’s presidential election by 23 points.

“I think Tagg would be a great candidate,” a source close to both Romneys said.  “He grew tremendously in the campaign, but with his company it’s unlikely he can afford to walk away from it right now, sadly.”

Tagg, 42, started the venture capital firm Solamere Capital after his father’s last unsuccessful campaign in 2008.  In both campaigns, he advised his father and worked hard to get his dad to the White House.

A Republican strategist with knowledge of state party discussions also told ABC News he seriously doubted the likelihood of any Romney candidacy in the upcoming Senate election.

Brown may have stunned his party last week when he decided not to run, leaving them scrambling, but some of those same issues had to weigh on the younger Romney too.  Any candidate who runs in the special election will have to run again in 2014.  And to make the ballot, candidates must gather 10,000 certified signatures in just four weeks.

So who will run on the Republican ticket?  Another possible contender, former Gov. Bill Weld, also ruled out a run on Monday, sending out a statement that said while he was “grateful for the kind expressions of support and encouragement which I have received, I will not be a candidate for United States Senator from Massachusetts in the special election this year.”

Former state Sen. Richard Tisei also ruled out a run over the weekend.

The Democratic primary field includes U.S. Representatives Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch.  Two possible candidates for the Republicans are Mitt Romney’s former Lieutenant Gov. Kerry Healey and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez.  Healey also served as a foreign policy adviser in Romney’s presidential campaign.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 292013
 

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — With Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s confirmation for Secretary of State proceeding at a smooth and quick pace, the question now becomes who will replace him and when?

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin gave an answer to that second question this week, saying that the special election would likely be set for June 25.

Although the race is less than five months away, the only individual who has formally declared their candidacy so far is Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Malden, Mass.  Another member of the Massachusetts Democratic delegation, Rep. Stephen Lynch of South Boston, is also mulling a run.  Should Lynch decide to jump in, the two would face-off in a primary, likely scheduled on April 30.

The big question though remains will former Republican Sen. Scott Brown enter the race?  Reports from local sources indicate that Brown is actually leaning against trying to reclaim his Senate seat, which he left less than a month ago after losing his race to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the fall.  

Instead, Brown is reportedly eyeing the governor’s mansion in 2014 as his next political target.  The seat will be open since Gov. Deval Patrick is term-limited.

In the period between Kerry’s confirmation and the special election, Gov. Patrick is expected to announce an interim senator.  That announcement could come as early as Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe.  Candidates in the running include the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Vicki Kennedy, and former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio