Massachusetts voters are heading to the polls Tuesday to choose a new senator — and it’s shaping up to be a comfortable victory for Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Markey.
Five of the last six polls taken in the past two weeks have given Markey commanding, double-digit leads over Republican Gabriel Gomez, the former Navy SEAL and private equity investor.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls gives Markey a 12.3-point lead over Gomez heading into Election Day. The latest of those polls, a Suffolk University survey taken through Saturday, puts Markey up 10 points.
How is Markey putting this race away so easily, three years after Scott Brown pulled a big upset in a special election? Here are a few big reasons why:
- Democrats brought in the big guns for Markey to keep Secretary of State John Kerry’s former seat Democratic. Markey avoided a costly primary and was able to build up a solid war chest from the get-go. At the same time, Democrats all the way up to Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama have campaigned on his behalf. And the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent at least $700,000 on the race in just the past month, according to The Hill.
- Gomez is no Scott Brown, becoming the latest Massachusetts Republican candidate to disappoint on that front. As a political outsider with an accomplished Navy record, Gomez was considered to be a candidate who had a solid chance at pulling an upset. Massachusetts has a significant Democratic tilt in its voter registration, and Gomez has been unable to fuel the bipartisan fire in a way Brown did in 2010 — or fuel much fire at all. A recent poll found that one-third of Massachusetts residents had no opinion or had not heard of Gomez.
- Markey whupped Gomez in fundraising. Through the end of the last FEC filing period on June 5, Markey has been able to spend $8.6 million to Gomez’s $2.3 million. By comparison in 2010, Brown raised about $15 million and spent more than half of it in his successful bid.
- Markey has been effective in tying Gomez to the national Republican Party, something that has helped solidify his status with Massachusetts’ heavily skewed Democratic voter base. Markey has been backed by his large war chest, which has allowed him to blast Gomez on everything from guns to health care reform.
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