State Senate Race begins to Heat Up for both Parties

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The only current United States Senate race in the country is underway and heating up each day, right here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After then-Senator John Kerry was confirmed to replace Hillary Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State, Massachusetts congressional officials began the process of another special election for a Senate seat. A little over two months has passed and the candidates are out on the campaign trail as often as possible.

Crossing the state from Abington and Attleboro, to Lynnfield, to Shrewsbury, Springfield and Weymouth, the five candidates from both political parties are touring the many towns and cities through Massachusetts in order to garner support and, eventually, votes in the statewide primary on April 30. Therefore, one Democrat and one Republican will be lucky enough to win the primary and the nominee from their party.

In the meantime, while the primary is still a month away, all five Democratic and Republican candidates are going full-steam ahead with their campaigns and efforts to reach out to voters. Each of them seems to be taking a different approach, but they are all using the same grassroots tactics that produced a nearly eight-point victory for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in her first election last November against then-Senator Scott Brown.

Michael Sullivan was the only Republican able to get on the ballot, acquiring at least 10,000 valid signatures, without any assistance from a hired group. As such, the Massachusetts Democratic Party quickly realized Sullivan’s backing and potential and they held a press conference to discuss Sullivan’s views against same-sex marriage.

In a state that marked the history books when it was the first to truly legalize same-sex marriage a decade ago, and in a race where he is the only candidate still opposed, the Massachusetts Democrats made sure that people were aware of his stance on this issue.

However, Sullivan is not at all alone in the Republican party primary race.  Joining him are State Rep. Dan Winslow and Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL and Cohasset investor.

Winslow has been known for his efforts in the General Court, as well as for several interesting events that have occurred during his time as a state legislator. These events include a water pong fundraiser and sending some of the marshmallow food product known as fluff to Governor Deval Patrick as a witty technique to tell him to get rid of the “fluff” in the budget.

Gomez, who is considered a political newcomer, is settling in to the reality of campaigning every corner of Massachusetts. His staff is alert and by his side, and Gomez is traveling the state just like the rest of his competitors. Unlike the trio of Republicans seeking their party’s nomination, there are just two Democrats running.

U.S. Representative Ed Markey and his fellow colleague U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch are both battling for the chance at a U.S. Senate seat alongside Senator Warren. In the Democratic primary, endorsements go a long way and, so far, the two congressional Democrats are racking up support left and right: environmental groups like 350.org’s 350 Action Fund, the Sierra Club, and League of Conservation Voters have all endorsed Markey while many state legislators have publicly announced their support for Lynch. Still up for deliberation are the numerous unions that play a significant role in Democratic politics, both during campaigns and once their respective candidates win office.

All five candidates are working day and night to reach the ultimate campaign finish line in the end of June, but one concern is voter turnout. In special Senate elections, the only people who typically vote are die-hard Democrats and Republicans who follow the campaigns from start to finish.

In 2010, there was a special Senate race, like the current one, after the late Senator Ted Kennedy passed away. Then-State Senator Scott Brown beat Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley by a little less than 110, 000 votes.

After Kerry joined the U.S. State Department as Secretary of State, Governor Patrick appointed William “Mo” Cowan, his former counsel and then Chief of Staff, as the interim U.S. Senator to fill the vacant seat until the next Senator is eventually selected on the June 25 election day.

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