Rep. Edward Markey cruised to victory in the Massachusetts special election to fill the unexpired term of Secretary of State John Kerry.
Markey got 55% of the vote while his GOP challenger, former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez received 45%.
His victory in the deep-blue state was almost universally expected: Gomez a former Navy SEAL and investor, never caught fire despite his attempt to portray himself as a new kind of moderate Republican. And Democrats went all out to avoid another GOP upset, pouring in millions of dollars and sending some of the party's top surrogates to the state to campaign for Markey, including President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
Markey galvanized left-leaning voters by attacking Gomez for opposing abortion rights and an assault weapons ban. In his victory speech, the senator-elect also cited issues now at the forefront of the president's agenda.
"I will fight for immigrant families reaching for the American dream," he said. "And I will fight to preserve our planet for generations to come. ... I want, as you want, a 21st century that is more educated, more prosperous and more fair than the 20th century was."
The 66-year-old, who has been in the House since 1976, will replace interim Sen. Mo Cowan. The seat opened up in January when Kerry was confirmed as secretary of state.
Republicans might have done better if former Sen. Scott Brown, who lost to Elizabeth Warren last November, decided to run. But he took a pass in order to pursue business opportunities and sign on as a Fox News contributor.
About 1.2 million people voted. That's only 27 percent turnout, half the 54 percent turnout rate in the January 2010 special.
Markey is one of the last "Watergate babies" who came into the House in 1975 following Nixon's resignation in August, 1974. That class of 1975 altered politics and the House of Representatives forever. Politics became more divisive, more partisan while the entire committee and sub committee structure of the House was overturned, dispersing power and making it harder for party leaders to control members.
As for Gomez, I hope he stays visible. He is an up and comer in the state, although it is doubtful he will ever catch on with the right nationally. This has been a valuable experience for him and one would expect him to do better the next time he runs for statewide office.