Texpatriate endorses Ed Markey

I have a fair number of readers who hail from Massachusetts. I do apologize to all those individuals, for my coverage is pretty Texas heavy. But I would feel wrong if I completely ignored the big news happening in this Commonwealth in exactly two days.

Since John Kerry (unfortunately) became the Secretary of State, he had to resign his Senate seat. Massachusetts is identical to Texas in how they deal with Senatorial vacancies: the Governor appoints a replacement who serves only until a special election may be held. The Governor, Deval Patrick, nominated a former staffer named Mo Cowan, and he will not be running.

Now, a lot of people, including me, thought that this would be a pretty competitive election, because we thought Scott Brown would be running. Brown lost A LOT of votes last year because democratically leaning moderates didn’t want him to be a hypothetical President Romney’s 51st ally in the Senate. Now, of course, we are certain that both a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate will be around until at least 2014, so there was a very real chance Brown would have pulled some votes from the middle.

As it turned out, Scott Brown decided not to run. This all but assured the seat would stay in Democratic hands. Accordingly, the real contest shifted to the Democratic Primary, which became “tantamount to election” (it’s funny–if I were one generation older, I would be complaining of the Republicans from Mass and talking about tantamount to election in Texas). Thus, the primary is on Tuesday.

There are two Democrats running, both incumbent US Congressmen. Ed Markey, who actually is the Congressman for the neighborhood college is in, and Stephen Lynch, who represents another part of Boston. Lynch is a typical blue-collar, blue-dog Democrat, he is big on the unions and the working class, but is pretty moderate on social issues. Ed Markey, on the other hand, is the quintessential Boston Liberal. He is sort of like John Kerry’s personality and Ted Kennedy’s political views. The unions (mainly the ironworkers) are pulling out all the stops for Lynch, while the students are going hard to Markey.

Even though I am not registered to vote in Massachusetts, and probably never will be, I’ve decided to make a pick in this race for the same reason I picked in the SD06 race: it will have a big affect on us all. It is my sincere belief that Markey would be the better Senator.

The Boston Globe endorsed Markey, and, for the life of me, I can’t come up with many more reasons than they did. Essentially, they argued that both candidates had good, long careers in public service, but they added some complaints of Lynch. Their main one was that he voted against Obamacare. Now, Lynch has since backed away from such a position, but it is still quite a troubling tidbit in history. In the past, Lynch was a hostile opponent of gay rights. Again, it makes it hard to support him.

In re Brown

With Senator Kerry’s confirmation as Secretary of State, speculation is on about who will succeed him. Boston (and Massachusetts in general) has gone back to elections central, as we prepare for our second Special Senate election in three years. Governor Patrick has appointed Mo Cowan, his former Chief of Staff, as a placeholder until the June election.

Now, Massachusetts is something like 25% college student, and, unlike the college students in Texas, they actually vote. A June election is awful for such a state, as all the young people who vote Democratic, are in another state. I remember people claiming that Scott Walker would have been recalled, except it was a June election, so the kids at UW-Madison weren’t voting. Anyways, who would benefit in deeply-blue Massachusetts from an election where nobody votes?

Enter the Republican former Senator: Scott Brown. Brown won by a lot in his 2010 special election, in which 2.3 Million people voted. He also lost by a lot in 2012, in which 3.2 Million people voted. Coincidence? No. Simply put, there are too many Democrats in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a Republican to win in a general election. Fortunately for Brown and the Republicans, this June is a special election. Unfortunately for the Republicans, Brown is not running.

The announcement leaves the state GOP scrambling to find a candidate, and almost assures that Democrats will hang onto the seat. Catastrophe averted for my geographic contemporaries!