Don’t Write Off Massachusetts Senate Race Just Yet

by Stuart Rothenberg May 2, 2013 · 10:11 AM EDT

The Senate special election in Massachusetts took an interesting turn this week, when former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez drew more than 50 percent of the vote to win the GOP nomination.

Gomez will face Rep. Edward J. Markey on June 25. Markey won the Democratic nomination with 57 percent of the vote over Rep. Stephen F. Lynch.

The total GOP primary vote was less than what Lynch received in the Democratic race, and the Bay State’s Democratic bent is undeniable. But Gomez has an interesting story, and at least the GOP didn’t nominate an old white guy who had served in the Massachusetts Legislature. (Gomez beat former U.S. Attorney Mike Sullivan and Dan Winslow, a current member of the state House.)

Democrats won’t allow themselves to be surprised the way they were when Scott P. Brown beat Martha Coakley in the last Senate special election, in early 2010, and the national party’s image can’t do anything but hurt Gomez’s already uphill chances. But there is no reason to rush to judgment on this race, at least for a couple of weeks, and it’s worth watching to see how it unfolds. Obviously, Markey begins as the clear favorite.