Massachusetts Republicans cheer as Dems back Markey for Senate seat
If there is such a thing as being too liberal for Massachusetts, Rep. Edward Markey may fill that requirement.
The 18-term congressman has embraced every far left cause since he entered the House in 1977 and has a voting record among the most liberal in congress.
If, as expected, former Senator Scott Brown runs in the special election to replace Secretary of State nominee John Kerry, the contrast between the two candidates would be striking.
A mad scramble by bigwig Democrats to avoid a bloody primary and clear the field for U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey in a U.S. Senate special election left at least one would-be candidate grousing yesterday - and some Republicans downright gleeful.
"They are freaked out," state Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) said after U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, Victoria Kennedy and the party's Senate campaign committee all rushed to back Markey, a consummate Washington insider.
"Let them coalesce and let them have a non-primary situation and keep the rust on him," Hedlund said of the 19-term Democrat, who has never had a serious re-election fight but would likely face battle-tested Republican Scott Brown in the race to fill Kerry's seat. "Fine by me. You're going to have a huge contrast in how those two will campaign."
U.S. Rep. Michael E. Capuano - a potential Senate candidate despite his loss in the primary during the special election for U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat - was clearly miffed by his party's rush to back Markey.
"It seems that the big names of our party are trying to choose our nominee for us. When I became mayor of Somerville, the establishment wasn't with me," Capuano said in a statement. "When I became a member of Congress, the establishment wasn't with me. If I make this run, it will be the same way - from the streets up, not from the elite down."
Kerry - who's been nominated by President Obama to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - got the ball rolling yesterday afternoon with a gushing show of support for Markey.
"While I began last week to formally step out of politics, and it's very important that I respect the apolitical nature of the post I hope to soon occupy, as Massachusetts' senior senator today and as a colleague of Ed Markey's for 28 years, I'm excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate," Kerry said in a statement.
There are a lot of things going for Brown if he chooses to run - name recognition, residual popularity, and experience as a senator. But Markey has an even more liberal record to run on than Elizabeth Warren who defeated Brown in November. The Dems may hold an enormous registration advantage in the state, but as Brown proved in the special election, a good GOP candidate can win if he sticks to the issues and paints himself as a more reasonable alternative than the Democrat.