Big Developments in the Massachusetts Senate Special Election

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown

News is occurring rapidly in the replacement special election for Secretary of State-designee John Kerry’s Massachusetts Senate seat.

First, despite Kerry not yet being confirmed, Gov. Deval Patrick and Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin have announced the special election schedule. The party primaries will be held April 30, with the special general vote occurring on June 25. A plurality of the vote wins the respective Democratic and Republican nominations.

Secondly, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8) is not denying a Boston Globe report that he will enter the special election soon to challenge Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) in the Democratic primary. The road will be a tough one for Lynch, who will have to overcome what appears to be virtual united Democratic Party establishment support for Markey, who was originally elected to the House all the way back in 1976.

Though the least liberal of the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation, Lynch does enjoy strong support from organized labor. They will have to go to bat for him in a big way if he is to derail what has so far been a strong Markey effort. Since the labor positions of the two men aren’t particularly different, it is hard to see why the political unions would attempt to step in between two of their allies.

But, Lynch’s decision to run is not the only bad news that behests Markey. A new MassINC poll (Jan. 16-19; 435 registered Massachusetts voters) shows surprising strength for former Republican Sen. Scott Brown. The results give Brown a whopping 53-31 percent lead over the veteran congressman, even better than the 44-36 percent spread he scores against a generic Democrat. Despite losing at the hands of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), the defeated lawmaker still has a strong 55:32 percent favorable to unfavorable personal image.

Brown has yet to give any indication that he will enter the Senate special. He is also a potential candidate for governor. The downside in running for the Senate is, even if he beats Markey, running again in the 2014 regular election for a new six-year term would mean two major campaigns within the space of a year, after just going through a bruising losing campaign throughout 2012.

The latest developments suggest that the newly scheduled special Senate election may be much more interesting than thought even just a few days ago. More polling that confirms Brown’s numbers will be needed, however, to suggest that he is as strong against Markey as this original data portends.

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