It’s Ed Markey vs. Gabriel Gomez

The primary results are in.

We’ve got our general election matchup. Rep. Ed Markey defeated  his rival in the Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Stephen Lynch Tuesday night. In the Republican contest, businessman and political newcomer Gabriel Gomez defeated his two rivals to take his party’s nomination.

With 55 percent of precincts reporting, Markey had 57 percent of the vote, according to the Boston Globe. Meanwhile, Gomez took 51 percent of the Republican vote, Michael Sullivan took 35 percent, and Dan Winslow took 13 percent with 54 percent of precincts reporting, prompting the AP to call it for Gomez.

The results come after a decidedly unenthusiastic showing from the state of Massachusetts with something less than 15 percent turnout as of this evening. It seems an off-year special election and a campaign that never really captured the public’s attention doesn’t bring many voters to the polls. Under those conditions, Markey’s strong lead out of the gate with the Democratic party establishment proved difficult for Lynch to overcome. The Republican race between three unknowns meant that Gomez’s relatively well-funded effort and TV presence seems to have pushed him past Sullivan’s early lead. Recent polling put both men in the lead in their respective races, meaning there wasn’t much surprise in the results Tuesday.

Its tough to be a Massachusetts Republican, but the party can at least pat themselves on the back for picking the candidate who pundits suggest has the best chance of beating Markey in the general election this September. (Not coincidentally, Gomez isn’t a favorite among the party’s more conservative wing.) Note that there’s a difference between having “the best chance of the three” and having “a good chance,” as Mass Politics Profs ably demonstrated this week, and as the Boston Herald seems to have ignored. Gomez has some serious work to do. The most recent Western New England University poll found that just 19 percent of likely voters held a favorable opinion of him. Sixty-one percent of them either hadn’t heard of him or had no opinion. Meanwhile, 39 percent viewed Ed Markey favorably, and 38 percent either hadn’t heard of or had no opinion of him. He’s got until June 25, the date of the general election, to turn that around.