The State of Politics in MA

Massachusetts held a special election this past June to fill the vacant Massachusetts senator position left by new Secretary of State John Kerry. Obama selected Kerry for the position after Hilary Clinton stepped down from her post at the end of January.

This marks the second time in the past four years that a long-held senate seat was up for election. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry served as Massachusetts senators for 47 years and 28 years, respectively.

Since Kennedy passed away in 2009, his senate seat has been well contested; he was followed briefly by interim senator Paul Kirk, then Scott Brown and finally Elizabeth Warren today.

Kerry’s ascension to Secretary of State meant that Massachusetts had an accelerated election cycle. The candidates started campaigning in January for the April primary. Ed Markey (Democrat) and Gabriel Gomez (Republican) were the chosen candidates for the June election; a third candidate from the Twelve Visions Party was also on the ballot.

During these campaigns, Mo Cowan served as interim senator for Massachusetts just as Paul Kirk had for the late Kennedy.

Massachusetts radio and TV stations created a lot of buzz around the June election. In the polls, Markey was beating Gomez only by a slim margin, unusual for such a left-leaning state. Democrats have particularly low turnout for non-major elections, which meant that both had a fighting chance of winning the elections.

Voter turnout was just shy of 1.2 million, only a 27% turnout from the registered voters in Massachusetts.
The results? Markey won with 54.8% of the vote, Gomez took home 44.8% and Richard Heos from Twelve Visions received 0.4%. Gomez may have lost, but he gained a high percent of the vote given that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans three to one in Massachusetts (as of October 2012).

Now that Markey has secured the position of senator, it will be interesting to see what he does over the next six years.


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