Last Friday the Washington Post reported that Senator John Kerry and Vicki Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, both endorsed the candidacy of Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) for the Senate seat Kerry will vacate if, as expected, he is confirmed by the Senate as the next Secretary of State.
In addition, Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued a statement that sounded very much like an endorsement. Markey's announcement that he would run in the special election came just one day earlier.
Some Republicans welcomed Markey's entrance into the race. Republican consultant Rob Gray told the Boston Herald:
“This is a huge positive for Scott Brown. This looks like the first in a series of non-bigfoot candidates that Democrats are putting forward. . . He hasn’t had a competitive race in decades, so I imagine his political campaign muscles are pretty atrophied at this point. ”
Ideologically, Markey's thirty-six year voting record in the House of Representatives is very similar to the liberal left wing philosophies championed by Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren. Warren defeated Scott Brown to win the Massachusetts Senate seat he won in a 2010 special election after the death of long time Senator Edward Kennedy. Unlike Warren, however, Markey has neither the star power nor the fundraising capabilities of the former Harvard Law School professor. Warren raised and spent over $43 million to win her successful general election campaign against Brown. Most of it was raised online from out-of-state sources.
Markey's early announcement followed quickly by the John Kerry and Vicki Kennedy endorsements may have succeeded in scaring off other Democrats from challenging him for the party's special election nomination. Two Congressmen -- Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) --are known to be interested in Kerry's Senate seat, but neither have made a public statement about their plans since Markey's announcement.
The Massachusetts Democratic establishment's rush to rally around Markey and clear the field of any opposition is reminiscent of the power plays and arm twisting undertaken on behalf of Elizabeth Warren, who secured enough state delegate votes in an early 2012 convention to prevent a poorly funded challenger from getting on a potential September primary ballot.
On Wednesday, while speculation mounted that he might choose to run for Governor in 2014 rather than for Senate in the 2013 special election, Brown took a clear political shot at Markey. Brown questioned whether Congressman Markey, who has spent most of his time in the Washington, D.C. area since his election in 1976, could legitimately claim to be a resident of Massachusetts. Congressman Markey lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland and is rarely at the Malden, Massachusetts boyhood home he owns.