It's deja vu all over again in the political punditocracy. Scott Brown II is back, and this time he's Hispanic!
Gabriel Gomez's strong win
in the Republican US Senate primary over favored Michael Sullivan has set off waves of predictable reporting that the Cohasset business and former Navy SEAL will repeat the GOP surprise
, this time over Democrat Ed Markey.
“You’re hitting all sevens in the slot machine once again,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican public affairs specialist “This time you have a Hispanic Republican who has the potential for staying power in Massachusetts. Brown won, and lost his election. [Gomez] would have the potential to stick around for longer.”
But the year is 2013, not 2010.
Let's start with the obvious. Brown lost last year to Elizabeth Warren, the sheen of the truck and the barn coat giving way to the reality of his positions. And that's because Democrats were not going to be taken by surprise again.
The common wisdom is Brown won because his initial foe, Attorney General Martha Coakley, was asleep at the switch. While that may have been somewhat true, the reality is the Tea Party movement was just beginning to sweep the nation and Coakley and Democrats were not prepared.
The same cannot be said this time around. If anything, the Tea Party is somewhat disgruntled
over the prospect of Gomez, who first beseeched Deval Patrick for the temporary appointment by painting himself as a moderate.
But Markey made crystal clear that he won't been caught off guard, invoking the specter of the right wing money men like Karl Rove and the Koch brothers who will likely pour millions into the race:
“This campaign is about standing up to the special interests and the
extreme Tea Party Republicans who want to stop progress and send our
country in the wrong direction.”
That's not to say Markey is in for a cake walk. Gomez collected just shy of 93,000 votes in his 15-point win over Sullivan. Markey captured a little short of 307,000 votes in a 16-point win over Stephen Lynch.
But Lynch had strength in parts of the state that have been far more open to moderate "independent" candidates. Those moderate voters hold the key to whether the June 25 final election offers any excitement.
If the South Boston Democrat lines up behind Markey, it could be a snooze.That's a big if since Lynch has always been somewhat of a loner in the delegation, casting the sole vote against a Democratic mandatory aye called Obamacare.
Life will not be easy for Gomez though, particularly if Rove and the Kochs bankroll the race. While the money men are smart enough not to paint Gomez as the next Todd Akin, their presence will be an issue, a major component of a Markey campaign asking voters not to be fooled again.
Then there is Gomez's record, or lack thereof. He will rail against Markey's 36 years in Congress but Gomez could not win a local selectman's race. Brown had experience with wins at the local and state level before taking on Coakley.
Gomez also starts off with a major flip-flop. In his infamous letter
to Patrick, he offered his support for Barack Obama, whom he had accused of "taking too much credit"
for defeating Osama bin Laden.
An assault weapon ban? He was for it before he was against it.
Gomez will surge early, a new flavor to be sampled. Whether he retains those curiosity seekers largely depends on Markey and Democrats. Rest assured, this time around, no one will be asleep.
Listen to Michael Dukakis:
“I think it’s going to be a very tough next seven weeks and we gotta
take it very seriously,” he said. “I hope and expect [Markey] is gonna
win, but we can’t take anything for granted. That’s particularly true
with these special elections as we have learned a number of times. So
it’s gonna be intensive. House to house. Street to street. Precinct to
The alarm clock is ringing. Loudly.
Labels: 2013, Ed Markey, Gabriel Gomez, US Senate