, Newburyport, MA

June 22, 2013

Can Gomez beat Markey?

Bill Plante
Newburyport Daily News

---- — Big Freddy was chuckling when I joined him for our weekly get-together.

“You’ve found something in our otherwise troubled world to laugh about,” I said as I pushed the table to squeeze into my side of the booth.

“Gomez,” Freddy said between chuckles.

“Take a deep breath, and settle down,” I said, “but Gomez what?

“Gomez saying voters should try him for what’s left of Kerry’s year and a half in the Senate, and if they don’t like what he’s done, then, fair enough, he’s out of there and they can turn to Markey for the full term run in the next go-round,” Freddy said.

“Not exactly a winning strategy,” I said.

“Not close, but original,” Freddy said. “Everything about him is. Self-made guy, comes out of the blue, but bright as they come.

“He doesn’t just climb ladders — he runs up them — military, civilian, education, investment adviser, whatever, he comes up smelling roses.

“So, out of the blue, as a more or less independent Republican, he takes on the GOP wannabes in the primaries and sends them packing.”

“Which said more about them than it did about him,” I said.

“Republicans are at any port in a storm,” Freddy said, “have been for a long time in Massachusetts when it comes to just about every political seat in Washington. That’s what made Scott Brown’s win so important.”

“But he couldn’t hold it,” I said.

“For three reasons,” Freddy said. “One, money, it was the most expensive Senate race in history. Seventy five million and he was on the short end. Number two, in 2010 he was running against Martha Coakley who may be a great attorney general, but was no great campaigner. Number three, trying to hold onto a Senate seat as an independent is a slippery slope because with either party it’s either their way or the highway. There are few states where you can pull that off, but Massachusetts isn’t one of them.

“Scott Brown did, but it wasn’t made to last — which is why he’s been looking for other options.”

“So Gomez has no chance,” I said.

“You really need an answer for that?” Freddy said. “He’s as green as to politics as green can get, and he’s not only been outspent something like three to one, he has two presidents, Obama and Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for Markey.”

“That says more about Markey’s weaknesses than anything Gomez has come up with,” I said.

“Weaknesses is the wrong word,” Freddy said. “From all accounts, Markey has represented his district well enough to make a lifetime job of it. Reps don’t usually make national news. They do whatever they have to do for their districts.

“On the big issues, they either go along with the party’s positions or get special dispensation from the leadership to take a walk if what’s going down could be a problem back home, but mostly it’s ‘go along to get along’ as a party faithful.

“The way things are down in Washington, both parties need every vote they can get. No way they want the loss of any seat, let alone one in Massachusetts.”

“So you’re calling it for Markey,” I said.

“Let me put it this way,” Freddy said. “If this was a horse race, I’d say Markey has six lengths on Gomez with 15 lengths to go. Barring coming up lame, he should make it.”

Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and a staff columnist.