On Wednesday, the Boston Herald reported that former President Bill Clinton would campaign this weekend for Rep. Ed Markey, who is campaigning for John Kerry’s former Senate seat. The news is the latest sign that Democrats are beginning to panic about Markey’s race against former Navy Seal and businessman Gabriel Gomez. Clinton is every Democrat’s go-to campaigner in close races.
Markey, who entered Congress during the Nixon Administration, has leveraged his DC-insider status to parade a host of national Democrats through Massachusetts. President Obama campaigned with him on Wednesday. Earlier this week, Vice-President Joe Biden and Al Gore campaigned with Markey. DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz stumped for her colleague at the end of last week.
Markey has also used his insider connections to tap a steady stream of campaign funds to both support his campaign and attack Gomez. The Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee is blitzing the state with at least $700k in ads slamming Gomez. Liberal third-party groups are also pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race.
The sudden appearance of Bill Clinton no the campaign trail, though, is a clear sign that Democrats worry these efforts to-date may not be enough to prevail in the election on June 25th. A recent poll from Suffolk University found that Markey’s support had dropped considerably since last month. He currently leads Gomez by just 7 points. At the same point in the 2010 special election, Democrat Martha Coakley led Republican Scott Brown by 9 points.
The chorus line of national Democrats campaigning for Markey may be back-firing on him. It reinforces his status as a DC-insider who has served in Congress for almost 40 years. Political newcomer Gomez offers voters a fresh voice, which, given the popularity of incumbents, could give him an edge in the special election.
Dispatching Clinton to the Bay State is the national Democrats pulling out their biggest asset for the campaign. We’ll know in two weeks if it is enough to save Markey’s bid for the Senate.