SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

June 21, 2013

Nelson Benton: It’s a real long shot for Gomez

Republican candidate Gabriel Gomez held his own in the final debate of the not-so-special campaign for the Bay State’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. But it likely won’t be enough for him to spring a Scott Brown-like surprise on Tuesday.

Brown and Peabody’s Leah Cole are exceptions to the rule that holds that Democrats, with more registered voters and a better get-out-the-vote machine, hold a distinctive advantage in elections here. Congressman Ed Markey is hardly the most charismatic candidate in the world, or even in his hometown of Malden, but he has the backing of a party apparatus determined to avoid a repeat of what occurred when Brown upset Attorney General Martha Coakley in the 2010 special election to choose a replacement for the late Edward Kennedy.

Though a thoroughly moderate Republican, Gomez is hindered by his party’s reputation for being anti-choice, anti-immigration and pro-guns. That image was the gist of Markey’s argument against electing Gomez during their one-hour debate televised by WGBH.

The fact is Gomez is less likely to pledge total fealty to the GOP leadership than Markey is to stray from the Democratic Party line in the Senate. But even with a bold effort to portray the Democrat as a classic tax-and-spender, Gomez is likely to end up the loser next week.

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By the way, contrary to Markey’s assertion that Gomez wouldn’t have dared suggest to GOP darling Sen. John McCain that he should be term-limited out of office, a spokesman for the Arizona senator confirmed to The Daily Caller Wednesday that “they did discuss the issue of term limits” when McCain was in town to campaign for Gomez, and “they disagree on this particular issue, but agree on many others.”

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