On Thursday, the well respected Cook Political Report moved the Massachusetts special Senate election that pits Democratic Congressman Ed Markey against Republican political newcomer Gabriel Gomez from “leans Democratic” to “toss-up.”
The Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy wrote that while they still had their “thumb on the scale” in favor of Markey, the outcome of the June 25 special election was extraordinarily difficult to predict. “In truth, we have had a difficult time accepting the idea that this race might get close. At the same time, Democrats nominated a long-serving member of Congress at a time when Congress is an almost universally unpopular institution.” Duffy added that “[i]t doesn’t help that Markey has not had a competitive race in decades.”
To date, the campaign has been remarkably uneventful with little energy generated on either side. Last week, however, the race heated up when Gomez called Markey “pond scum” for running an internet ad that juxtaposed the former Navy SEAL next to Osama bin Laden.
Polls have generally given Markey the lead, though the margin varies dramatically. A May 8 Suffolk University poll showed Markey up by 17 points. A May 17 poll from left leaning PPP shows Markey with a 7 point lead.
On Sunday, the Boston Globe reported that “Massachusetts Democrats are working to prop up what some have called a lackluster campaign by US Representative Edward J. Markey with a ferocious ground game that operatives expect will overwhelm Republican nominee Gabriel E. Gomez’s insurgency.”