On Monday, David S. Bernstein made this observation on his new blog:
—And finally, see how little things can change in four months, as shown by these two Boston Herald cover stories:
Boston Herald, December 29, 2012, as Ed Markey entered the race:
Republicans cheer “tired” Ed Markey’s entry into election
U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey became the first Bay State congressman to jump into the U.S. Senate special election yesterday, with an announcement that gleeful Republicans called a late Christmas gift ….
Boston Herald, April 29, 2013, on eve of primary:
Republicans plead for Markey run
Republicans are salivating over the prospect of a match-up with Democratic front-runner U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey in the U.S. Senate special election after tomorrow’s primary, saying they hope to take on the Beltway insider….
The front page of this morning’s Globe seems to be jumping on that bandwagon. Below the headline (“Newcomer Gomez vs. veteran Markey) are two stories, a “straight news” story and a “news analysis.” The subheading for the “straight news” story reads: “Senate matchup may energize Republicans.” (A look at RMG suggests they’re exercised, not energized.) Of course, having mentioned Republicans, balance required the Globe to mention the Democrats in the other subheading. And they do: “Democrats fear reliving the 2010 race that elected Brown.” That’s what I call the “heads I win, tails you lose” school of headline writing.
Which Democrats fear reliving 2010, exactly? I read the column and I still don’t know, because author Jim O’Sullivan didn’t talk to any on the record. He quotes James Innocenzi, a Republican strategist from Virginia. Mr. Innocenzi tells us that Gomez will help the national GOP with Latino voters. Because the GOP benefited so much in 2012 from its association with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. And the GOP has been cleaning up with African-American voters since it nominated Allan West, Alan Keyes, and J.C. Watt. Right?
O’Sullivan also quotes DC-based Republican strategist Ron Bonjean: “You’re hitting all sevens in the slot machine.” Gomez, you see, is just like Brown, except he won’t lose for re-election. He’ll be our senator for as long as Ted Kennedy and John Kerry were.
And the Democrats cowering in fear, the ones promised in the headline? Well, they say “privately” that they would have preferred facing Sullivan or Winslow. Sure. I agree with that. Gomez has that “fresh face,” “I’m not really a politician” thing going on and he’s proven a better fundraiser than either Sullivan or Winslow.
In 1962, after losing the California gubernatorial race to Pat Brown, Richard Nixon famously said to the press, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.” It sounds like the Globe is going through the reverse phenomenon: It really, really misses having Scott Brown around to venerate as bi-partisan moderate guy. And so it feels obligated to recreate those days of glory when a plucky unknown with a nice smile and a pickup truck shocked the world. So it is that O’Sullivan informs us the similarity between this race and that “is too obvious for Democrats to ignore.”
Count this Democrat as not afraid. Don’t get me wrong. Thanks to Scott Brown and Martha Coakley, nobody’s complacent about this. I know I’ll pay attention, volunteer, and show up to vote on June 25. But let’s not forget that Ed Markey won nearly 310,000 votes yesterday. That’s more than three times Gomez’s vote total of about 96,000. Nearly three times as many people voted in the Democratic primary as in the Republican primary yesterday. Thus it was that Steve Lynch, who got only 43% of the vote in the Democratic primary, had 40,000 more votes than the three Republican candidates combined. Last November, Elizabeth Warren ran against an incumbent and had nearly twice as many votes in Boston alone as Gomez had statewide yesterday.
Let’s not forget that Markey did pretty well for himself yesterday. He won in Boston, a city where Lynch has lived his whole life and which he has represented in legislative bodies for two decades. In all the places where he needs to do well to win the general (especially Western Mass. and MetroWest) he won by 4-to-1 margins or better. In bellwethers like Swampscott, Newburyport, and Sandwich, as predicted by Suffolk’s polling, Markey won handily. In Waltham he won 2-to-1.
Let’s not forget that Gomez has never run for office before, that thus far he’s been insulated from scrutiny, that there’s plenty in the positions he’s taken that won’t sit well with Massachusetts voters, that in many ways he’s a carbon copy of Mitt Romney, that the national GOP brand is mud in Massachusetts right now.
Gomez benefited from the hard right’s disillusionment with Sullivan because he wouldn’t come to their rallies. Gomez had three times more money than his nearest rival, enabling him to be the only Republican candidate with TV ads. In a low-interest primary, that alone could make the difference. Let’s not forget, though, that he has raised only $600K not from his own pocket. Markey has outraised Gomez 8-to-1 this year, and 4-to-1 even if you count money from Gomez’s own bank account. He has plenty still in the bank. Republicans can flood the state with money over the next two months, but Democrats will be equally engaged and ready to hit the doors.
One more difference from 2009-10: Markey and everyone who spoke at his party last night went out of their way to praise Lynch, and Lynch has indicated his full support of Markey. I have every expectation that the Democratic Party will be united going forward, and the Globe‘s dream of Scott Brown redux will be deferred.