Ed Markey Is Your New Senator

Markey finally found an election he couldn't lose.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

Well, what did you expect.

It’s a Democratic state. The Democratic turnout operation has grown into a behemoth of frightening proportion. Republicans in Washington have done everything in their power to scare moderate Bay Staters away from the brand. And the weirdly timed special election—with the crucial final weeks transpiring after Memorial Day, when it is virtually impossible to get Massachusetts to pay any attention to politics at all.

Plus, the Democrats had a very solid candidate—OK, not super-exciting, but experienced, smart, highly credentialed; obviously qualified and appropriate for the job, with very little to attack him with and plenty of cash on hand. Ed Markey, whatever you think of him, is a legit A-List US Senate candidate, at least on paper.

The Republicans had a very strong candidate—who, unfortunately for them, announced at the last minute that he wasn’t running, after leading everyone to believe he would. That screwed ’em but good. They were forced to go with a completely unknown, uncredentialed nobody—not even known among state Republican activists—mainly to prevent the embarrassment of having some Tea Party candidate represent the party heading into the 2014 election cycle.

Given the circumstances, Gabriel Gomez—learning on the fly how to be a candidate—did pretty darn well I thought. He got better as a campaigner as he went along, worked hard, presented himself well, and appears to have won pretty much all the places in the state he should have won.

For Gomez to come within 10 points in this race strikes me as pretty impressive, and should have him thinking seriously about running for governor next year. Unfortunately for him, I doubt that’s in the cards for him; in fact, I suspect the MassGOP will find that they have little use for Gomez after today, and will need to get him out of the way of others.

As for Markey … well, he spent an awful lot of years declining to run in any race until he found one he couldn’t lose, and he finally found one.