Big Freddy was folding his newspaper as I joined him for our weekly head-to-head, and I said, “Well, you were right on, with your pick of Markey to win.”
“On — but not right on,” Freddy said. “It’s not so much about him winning. I had him winning by more than he did.
“Well, a win’s a win,” I said.
“But this one involves more about why than what,” Freddy said. “It was tighter than I thought it would be, but it’s more about where the wins came from for both of them.”
“Because the Republicans picked a political beginner as a candidate?” I asked.
“They didn’t pick him — he beat the other wannabees,” Freddy said. “The question is why he beat them, and the answer is he was a fresh face with a lot of his own money who had enough of what it took to get Republicans and the unaligned to make a case against Markey.
“And when you get to look at what happened on election day, Gomez may have lost the election, but he won more of the cities and towns than Markey did.”
“That happened in our local area,” I said. “Markey carried Newburyport, but Gomez carried Amesbury by a whisker and won the other towns — not by much in some, but carried them all.”
“Same thing statewide,” Freddy said. “You can look it up. Markey won 153 municipalities, but Gomez won 196.”
“But it was big cities against smaller ones,” I said.
“Of course,” Freddy said. “But not just the big ones. Those with colleges and universities occupied by voters from all over went for Markey.
“Boston was huge because he wins three out of every four votes there.
“Statewide, he wins nine of the state’s biggest cities, overall with something like 118,000 votes.
“Some of those cities have colleges and a lot of people in them love Obama.
“Obama comes here to back Markey. So do Clinton and company to make their case for him.
“A lot had probably never heard of him, but case made, case closed for Markey by three out of four voters.’’
“You’re saying he had no pull of his own,” I said.
“I’m not,” Freddy sad. “Of course he had. You don’t get to serve 36 years in Washington without earning more than brownie points back in your home lick. But that’s not enough for a Senate seat.
“Markey did more than butter bread for his constituents. Being a congressman includes being involved in larger issues, and the longer one’s in office, the more of those he has to deal with.
“That’s where party leadership does its thing, and if it says stand up and salute — well, Markey has been a good soldier.
“The way things are in Washington, there’s a lot of political soldiering going on in both houses. There was an empty seat in the Senate, and Obama needed a good soldier to fill it. Markey fit the bill.
“Understandable,” I said, “but what do you make of the realities when Gomez wins more of the cities and towns than Markey, but Markey wins?”
“Haven’t a clue, but something’s cooking,” Freddy said.
Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His email address is email@example.com.