BOSTON — Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey and Republican former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez won their party primaries yesterday, setting up a race between a 36-year veteran of Washington politics and a political newcomer for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by John Kerry.
Markey, of Malden, defeated fellow U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, of South Boston, in the Democratic primary while Gomez, a Cohasset businessman, bested former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Daniel Winslow in the GOP primary, according to unofficial returns. The special election is scheduled for June 25.
Across the region, Markey largely dominated Lynch on the Democratic ballot while Gomez wiped out his two Republic opponents. Sullivan consistently placed second ahead of Winslow in the Republican primary, and overall Democratic turnout was much stronger than it was Republicans.
The most glaring example came in Newburyport, where Democrats came out in force to support Markey. Markey collected more than three times as many votes as Lynch, garnering a total of 1,594 votes (78 percent) to Lynch’s 434 (22 percent).
Republicans collectively scored much poorer in Newburyport, but Gomez still cruised to victory with 408 votes (57 percent) to Sullivan’s 209 (29 percent) and Winslow’s 104 (14 percent). Overall, city officials thought the turnout in Newburyport was surprisingly strong, given the limited hype the primary generated before Election Day.
“We had about a 20 percent turnout, and that is stronger than expected for this kind of election,” said Richard Jones, city clerk of Newburyport.
In Amesbury, the turnout also tilted strongly Democratic, and Markey cruised to an easy victory over Lynch by a count of 676 to 372, or 65 percent to 35 percent. The Republican ballot wasn’t competitive either, with Gomez taking 60.8 percent of the total GOP vote.
Like in Newburyport, Amesbury also had a surprising turnout with 1,586 total ballots cast, good for 14 percent. Assistant City Clerk Sharon Dunning said that while 14 percent is pretty low compared to other recent elections, it’s much stronger than the 7 to 10 percent they’d been anticipating.