Gabriel Gomez, a 47 year old former Navy Seal turned business investor, won a convincing upset victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary in the Massachusetts special election to replace Secretary of State John Kerry in the United States Senate. On the Democratic ballot, long time Congressman Ed Markey defeated fellow Congressman Stephen Lynch by a comfortable, though uninspiring, 58 to 42 margin.
Gomez will now take on Markey in the special election to be held on June 25. Even the Boston Globe is wondering if the charismatic Hispanic Republican will be “the next Scott Brown.”
But Gomez faces a tough road to duplicate Brown’s January 2010 upset win over Martha Coakley. Though his victory margin of 51-36 over primary rival Michael Sullivan was unexpectedly high, only 180,000 voted in the Republican primary while almost three times as many, 535,000, cast their ballots in the Democratic primary. And while Gomez was not hurt in the primary campaign by the embarrassing revelation that in January he sent Democratic Governor Deval Patrick a letter in which he virtually begged to be appointed to Kerry’s seat as the interim Senator from Massachusetts, the well financed Markey has already blasted him for being “extreme.”
Markey told the crowd that gathered to celebrate his victory at Boston’s Omni Parker Hotel last night that his campaign “is about standing up to the special interests and the extreme Tea Party Republicans who want to stop progress and send our country in the wrong direction.”
Gomez, for his part, made a special effort to portray himself as “bi-partisan.” He told his victory celebration at the Red Lion Inn in Cohasset “[i]f you are looking for someone who refuses to work with the other party, I’m not your guy. … If you are looking for an independent voice, a new kind of Republican, take a look at our campaign. I’d welcome your support.”