“So,”I asked Big Freddy after we had agreed that just maybe the Bruins had a reasonable shot at going all the way, “what do you make of the Markey-Gomez Senate race?”
“Race?” Freddy asked as he waved his emptied coffee cup to the waitress for a refill. “This is no race. This is a sleepwalk between a Democrat Washington lifer in his 20th term in the House, against a sort-of Republican fresh face trying to introduce himself to the state at large by starting at the top.”
“Congressman Ed Markey against first-timer Gabriel Gomez for Kerry’s Senate seat,” I said.
“Markey’s a Washington lifer because people in his district have been satisfied with him, like, forever,” Freddy said. “Gomez has a great military background and he’s been successful as a civilian business man, but running for a Senate seat first time out of the box?”
“Well, he beat his Republican opponents in the primary,” I said.
“Which said more about them than it did about him,” Freddy said.
“So I take it you don’t think he has a shot,” I said.
“Oh, he earned a shot, but the opposition wasn’t much,” Freddy said.
“Considering Democrats have Massachusetts almost lock, stock and barrel, and Markey has been playing Washington games in the House, like, forever, Gomez’s shot has to be straight down the middle for the fed up voters.”
“It doesn’t seem like much of a shot to me,” I said.
“But it’s a shot,” Freddy said. “In the presidential races since 1996, Massachusetts Democrat voters have beat Republicans about two to one every four years. Those were votes for president numbers. In the Senate race, Brown took Teddy’s old seat first time out of the box.”
“But he lost in the race to keep it,” I said.
“No surprise there, because Democrats had a better candidate in Elizabeth Warren, and they went nationwide to beat him,” Freddy said.
“Which they’ll do against Gomez this time,” I said.
“Maybe, but not to the same extent because Gomez isn’t Brown, “ Freddy said.
“Markey’s no Warren either, and except for those outside his district he may be just another political name, but he’s a Democrat.”
“He’s no babe in the woods, though. He’s been down there going on 40 years.”
“Gomez? He was a Navy SEAL, and seals spend a lot of time under water.”
“But he’s had a terrific civilian career,” I said.
“But this is a political campaign,” Freddy said. “It’s all about working the groups out there, and the major ones that are politically active in Massachusetts have been comfortable with Democrats, like, forever.
“As for the middle — unless something bad about Markey breaks, Gomez is seven points back in the race, which, you could make a case, that’s not bad for a spanking-new Republican candidate in Massachusetts.
“It should be a bigger gap than that, and maybe Democrats should ask themselves why.”
Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and a staff columnist.