Entries in Massachusetts (52)


Republicans Hope Gabriel Gomez Is the Next Scott Brown

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Republican Gabriel Gomez is the underdog in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate special election. There's no other way to look at it when you see the Democratic advantage in voter registration in the very blue state.

But Republicans point to Gomez's dynamic story, as well as his youth and the public's dissatisfaction with Congress, as reasons the GOP is dreaming of duplicating Scott Brown's shocking upset win in 2010.

A Gomez victory would certainly be an upset. The June 25 special election has him pitted against Rep. Ed Markey, a well-established Democrat who has been in the House and campaigning in Massachusetts since 1976.

"I think he's the underdog, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could defeat Markey," Tufts political science professor Jeffrey Berry told ABC News. "He's an attractive candidate with a winning personal story. He's had success in the military and business worlds… His greatest weakness is that he's a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state."

Gomez, 47, is the son of Colombian immigrants. He speaks fluent Spanish and often sprinkles his speeches and ads with Spanish. He is a former Navy pilot and SEAL, who also attended Harvard for his MBA and became financially successfully as a private equity entrepreneur. He was able to use that money to help his political career, loaning his primary campaign $600,000, which helped him air television ads.

He has run on a socially moderate but fiscally conservative platform, supporting gay marriage but saying it should be left up to the states. He does oppose abortion personally, citing his Catholicism, but hasn't called for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

Gomez supported Barack Obama in 2008 and when John Kerry was appointed secretary of state, opening up this seat to a special election, he wrote a letter in January to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick asking for the interim appointment. In the letter he cited his past support of the president, saying he would support Obama's positions on both gun control and immigration. His opponents jumped on it, but it didn't seem to hurt him in the primary.

He hasn't always supported the president. Gomez served as the spokesman for the controversial Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, which aired a 22-minute video three months before the election accusing the president of politicizing the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The group has been fundraising on his behalf.

Gomez is up against the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, who has the backing of Kerry and all the establishment Democrats in the state. Markey has been in the House since he was 30 years old in 1976. He's a liberal Democrat who has focused on issues like the environment, women's rights, energy, telecommunication and national security, amongst other issues.

"Recent history says Republicans do really well in Massachusetts in special elections," longtime GOP strategist and Massachusetts Republican committeeman Ron Kaufman said. He cited Scott Brown and the victory last month by a Republican state legislator in a special election in the heavily Democratic town of Peabody.

"Voters like a stark choice between candidates," Kaufman said, happily noting the headline on the Boston Globe Wednesday, which read, "Newcomer Gabriel Gomez to face off against veteran Edward Markey."

"Voters are in record numbers upset with Congress. This is not the time you want to run for Congress after being in Congress since the second Lincoln administration," he added.

In his victory speech, Gomez struck a bipartisan chord, telling the crowd, "If you are looking for someone who refuses to work with the other party, I'm not your guy… If you are looking for an independent voice, a new kind of Republican, take a look at our campaign. I'd welcome your support."

Gomez also told supporters, "I will approach this job with a military man's discipline, a father's sensitivity and a businessman's experience."

Kaufman said that line would be the heart of Gomez's campaign.

The true heart of the campaign, however, will be trying to paint Markey as a Washington insider who has just been in Congress way too long.

Massachusetts Democratic consultant Mary Ann Marsh said there's no way this will be another election like the one where Brown upset Democrat Martha Coakley when Coakley and state Democrats did not aggressively take on Brown until it was too late.

"Ed Markey has to run the next seven weeks like his hair is on fire," Marsh said. "If Massachusetts Democrats learned anything from 2009 and should have been learned long before that…no race is sure in Massachusetts no matter what. You have to run hard you have to run smart and you have to use every resource possible to make sure you win."

Kaufman avoided comparing Gomez's upset chances to Brown defeat of Coakley.

"Every race is different," Kaufman said. "But, this is going to be a real race."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senate Warmly Welcomes Second African-American Member

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- William “Mo” Cowan was sworn in as the interim U.S. senator from Massachusetts on Thursday, filling the seat left vacant by new Secretary of State John Kerry.

Upon his swearing-in by Vice President Joe Biden, the Senate erupted into raucous applause.

Cowan is one of two African-Americans in the U.S. Senate but that in itself is historic because it's never happened before.

On hand for the Democrat's ceremony was Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only other black Senate member. The two men shook hands and embraced in a warm hug.

Cowan's time in the Senate is limited because he has no plans to run in the special election scheduled for June 25 that will decide who will fill out Kerry's term that ends December 2014.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mass. GOP Buoyed by Dan Winslow Eyeing US Senate Vacancy

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Massachusetts Republicans got a glimmer of hope on Tuesday after days of rejections from heavy-hitting politicians weighing possible runs in the state's upcoming special election.

Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow said on Tuesday that he is forming an exploratory committee for the U.S. Senate seat vacated when John Kerry went to head the State Department.

"Today I'm taking the necessary steps to form an exploratory committee to test the waters for the U.S. Senate," Winslow said in a statement on his website.  "We need to fix a broken Washington where progress is being hampered by partisan gridlock."

This is the closest a Republican has gotten to throwing his or her hat in the ring after a series of higher profile GOP leaders in the state announced that they would be staying away from the race.

Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who was seen as the likely front-runner for the GOP nomination, announced last week that he would be sitting out this round.  

His announcement seemed to open the floodgates for Republicans, kicking off a series of similar decisions from officials thought to be strong options for their party: Former Gov. William Weld, former state Senate minority leader Richard Tisei, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and Tagg Romney, the eldest son of Mitt Romney, have all said thanks but no thanks to the special election.

As for what's behind the steady stream of rejections, the bottom line is it's a steep hill to climb.  Any candidate will need to gather 10,000 signatures before the end of February.  That's a lot of names to gather in a short period of time, but presumably would not have been difficult for well-known candidates like Brown or Weld.  

Another concern is timing.  Massachusetts state law stipulates that the winner of the special election will fill out the rest of the term of the individual whom they were elected to replace.  And Kerry would have been up for re-election in November 2014, meaning that whoever wins that seat in June will face another election in just 17 months.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Tagg Romney for Senate? No Way, Sources Say

ABC / Ida Mae Astute(WASHINGTON) -- Ready for another Romney run?  Tagg Romney is not.

The Boston Herald reported on Monday that the eldest son of Mitt and Ann Romney is considering a run in the special Senate election in Massachusetts now that former Sen. Scott Brown decided against a run last week.

Two sources close to both Tagg and his father Mitt tell ABC News it’s not going to happen.  One consideration for Tagg may be that his father lost the Bay State in last year’s presidential election by 23 points.

“I think Tagg would be a great candidate,” a source close to both Romneys said.  “He grew tremendously in the campaign, but with his company it’s unlikely he can afford to walk away from it right now, sadly.”

Tagg, 42, started the venture capital firm Solamere Capital after his father’s last unsuccessful campaign in 2008.  In both campaigns, he advised his father and worked hard to get his dad to the White House.

A Republican strategist with knowledge of state party discussions also told ABC News he seriously doubted the likelihood of any Romney candidacy in the upcoming Senate election.

Brown may have stunned his party last week when he decided not to run, leaving them scrambling, but some of those same issues had to weigh on the younger Romney too.  Any candidate who runs in the special election will have to run again in 2014.  And to make the ballot, candidates must gather 10,000 certified signatures in just four weeks.

So who will run on the Republican ticket?  Another possible contender, former Gov. Bill Weld, also ruled out a run on Monday, sending out a statement that said while he was “grateful for the kind expressions of support and encouragement which I have received, I will not be a candidate for United States Senator from Massachusetts in the special election this year.”

Former state Sen. Richard Tisei also ruled out a run over the weekend.

The Democratic primary field includes U.S. Representatives Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch.  Two possible candidates for the Republicans are Mitt Romney’s former Lieutenant Gov. Kerry Healey and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez.  Healey also served as a foreign policy adviser in Romney’s presidential campaign.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Election to Replace Sen. John Kerry Likely June 25

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s confirmation for Secretary of State proceeding at a smooth and quick pace, the question now becomes who will replace him and when?

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin gave an answer to that second question this week, saying that the special election would likely be set for June 25.

Although the race is less than five months away, the only individual who has formally declared their candidacy so far is Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Malden, Mass.  Another member of the Massachusetts Democratic delegation, Rep. Stephen Lynch of South Boston, is also mulling a run.  Should Lynch decide to jump in, the two would face-off in a primary, likely scheduled on April 30.

The big question though remains will former Republican Sen. Scott Brown enter the race?  Reports from local sources indicate that Brown is actually leaning against trying to reclaim his Senate seat, which he left less than a month ago after losing his race to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the fall.  

Instead, Brown is reportedly eyeing the governor’s mansion in 2014 as his next political target.  The seat will be open since Gov. Deval Patrick is term-limited.

In the period between Kerry’s confirmation and the special election, Gov. Patrick is expected to announce an interim senator.  That announcement could come as early as Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe.  Candidates in the running include the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Vicki Kennedy, and former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rep. Ed Markey to Run for John Kerry’s Senate Seat

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts announced plans on Thursday to run in 2013 for the U.S. Senate seat from his state that is expected to be available in the wake of Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s nomination to be the next secretary of state.

Kerry, the current chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Markey, who just won his 20th term in the House, issued a statement Thursday, saying in part, “I have decided to run for the U.S. Senate because this fight is too important.  There is so much at stake.”

“We need a Senator who will work with President Obama, and anyone else, to move our country and our Commonwealth forward.  I look forward to traveling to every corner of the Commonwealth and meeting with the people who make Massachusetts so great,” Markey said.

Kerry’s seat will be filled by a special election early next summer.  Two other Massachusetts Democrats have also expressed an interest in running for the Senate seat: Congressmen Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch.

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, the moderate Republican who lost his bid for re-election in November to consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, is also expected to consider a run for Kerry's seat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ben Affleck Won’t Be Running for Senate

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Those hoping the United States Senate may get a little less gray and a bit more celebrity-studded won’t be getting their Christmas miracle today.

Despite speculation, Ben Affleck announced late Monday he would not go after John Kerry’s Senate seat in his native Massachusetts if the senator is confirmed as secretary of state.

The actor, who has been an increasingly popular presence in the political world recently, wrote on his Facebook page: “I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office.”

Chatter around a possible run went into overdrive Sunday when during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” the Cambridge native decidedly did not rule it out saying, “One never knows. I’m not one to get into conjecture.”

In the post he mentions his charity work in the Congo, something he discussed on ABC’s This Week as well as testifying before Congress, as one of the reasons he’s not interested in entering Bay State politics.

“Right now it’s a privilege to spend my time working with Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), supporting our veterans, drawing attention to the great many who go hungry in the U.S. everyday and using filmmaking to entertain and foster discussion about issues like our relationship to Iran,” Affleck said.

The movie star added his praise of Kerry, writing: “We are about to get a great Secretary of State.”

“There are some phenomenal candidates in Massachusetts for his Senate seat. I look forward to an amazing campaign,” Affleck added.

As for some of those candidates on the list, Gov. Deval Patrick is likely to appoint a replacement to fill Kerry’s seat in the interim period. Former Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, as well as Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Ted Kennedy, are on Patrick’s list, according to reports.

Scott Brown, who lost to Elizabeth Warren in November, is widely believed to be the likely Republican nominee and is viewed as a strong contender. On the Democratic side there are several names often mentioned currently in the U.S. House of Representatives: Edward Markey, Michael Capuano, and Stephen Lynch. Another possibility includes Martha Coakley, the state attorney general who originally lost to Brown in the 2010 special election held after Kennedy’s death, which Brown won.

Patrick has said he won’t appoint anyone until Kerry is confirmed at state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Could There Be Another Senator Kennedy in Massachusetts?

Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has yet to choose his nominee for secretary of state, but Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is already making plans to fill presumptive nominee John Kerry’s Senate seat.

Knowledgeable sources tell ABC News’ Jonathan Karl that Patrick has had a discussion with one potential replacement for Sen. Kerry: Victoria Kennedy.  The sources say the governor talked to Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy, about the possibility of replacing Kerry in the Senate and that she did not rule it out.

But don’t count on seeing another Sen. Kennedy from Massachusetts anytime soon:  A source close to “Vicki” Kennedy, 58, says she would be unlikely to accept the appointment.  But, again, she apparently has not ruled it out.

If Kerry is nominated and confirmed as secretary of state, Gov. Patrick would appoint somebody to replace Kerry in the interim period, until a special election took place.  Under Massachusetts law, that election would be held no later than 160 days (and no earlier than 145 days) after Kerry actually left the Senate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Elizabeth Warren Wins Massachusetts Senate Race

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- ABC News projects that Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts, will win her race, picking off a Republican seat for the Democrats in the battle for control of the Senate.

Billed as one of the most important races in the fight to control the Democratic-led Senate, the contest pitted Warren against Sen. Scott Brown, the incumbent who shocked the political establishment in 2010 with his victory in a special election to fill the seat that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy held for 47 years.

This is the year that Kennedy would have been up for re-election, so Brown was up again a mere two years after his first win.

Brown, 53, and Warren, 63, engaged in what was the year's most expensive Senate race for spending by candidates only, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The campaigns had spent more than $70 million collectively by mid-October.

More remarkable: The race was almost entirely absent of any outside spending, the result of an agreement between the candidates called "The People's Pledge," which vowed to keep outside ads out of the hotly contested race.

Those familiar with Massachusetts politics, including Brown himself, always expected Democrats to mount a serious attempt to take back the seat this time around.

The wild card was who would jump in to challenge the freshman senator. That candidate turned out to be Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a newly formed, federal department that developed under the Obama administration.

With a good level of name recognition established as a result of her work with the agency, as well as her oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (more commonly known as TARP) and a lengthy resume, Warren was the Democrats' answer to the much-considered question of who could challenge the popular senator.

Warren announced her candidacy in September 2011, and the race was fierce from then on.

The conversation in the Senate race mirrored the presidential race, with Brown attacking Warren for comments she made in 2011 when she said "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own." The comments mirrored Obama's "you didn't build that" remarks in July on which Republicans pounced.

Brown launched a "Thank You for Building This" tour as part of his campaign's efforts to highlight the senator's support for free enterprise. Brown kicked off the tour in early August by bringing coffee and donuts to a construction crew in Framingham, Mass.

Warren didn't back down from her comments, however. Indeed, the first-time candidate made infrastructure a big part of her proposed policy agenda, launching her "Rebuild Now" tour that called for an investment in the country's infrastructure.

Warren's unapologetic support for such government investment has helped to make her a rising star within the Democratic base.

Brown has assailed Warren for listing her herself as "Native American" on law school documents early in her teaching career.

"Elizabeth Warren said she was a Native American, a person of color," Brown said at their first debate in September, gesturing toward Warren. "As you can see, she's not."

Polls showed the race to be a virtual dead heat until the end, when Warren started to pull ahead in the deep-blue state in the final weeks.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Warren and Brown: Mass. Matchup Is Hottest in Country

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(BOSTON) -- In the fight for the Massachusetts Senate seat, it's an epic battle between Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, the liberal crusader famous for taking on Wall Street.

The outcome of this race could decide the control of the United States Senate.

ABC News recently sat down with both candidates while out on the campaign trail in the fever pitch leading up to Election Day.

No Senate race in the country has been more expensive and more personal.

This contest is the most expensive Senate race so far in terms of money raised, with both sides raising over $50 million total. Spending is very high too: More than $33 million has been spent, the second-most expensive in the country, a figure underscored by the fact that both candidates made a pact in January agreeing not to accept advertising by outside groups.

Brown is a moderate who often defies his own party, but as Warren reminds voters every day, a vote for Brown is also a vote to put Republicans in charge.

"People all around the country understand that this race may be for control of the United States Senate," Warren told ABC News in an interview in Taunton, Mass.

"It's really about standing up for working families and that is what this race is about at the national level and it's part of what this race is about on the Senate level," Warren said.

Warren has shattered records for fundraising and nearly 60 percent of the donations to her campaign have come from out-of-state.

It was something of a political miracle when he won Ted Kennedy's Senate seat two years ago, but now Scott Brown is finding out how hard it is for a Republican to win again in Massachusetts.

Brown, who can only hold on to his Senate seat if a lot of Democrats vote for him, doesn't like to talk about that issue, saying it doesn't matter much to him which party wins the majority in the Senate come November.

"For me it doesn't really matter who is in charge," he told ABC News in an interview in Worchester, Mass., adding that the real problem is the dwindling number of moderate Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. "I'm just sick of the gridlock. It makes me disgusted."

"You still need to get to 60 votes," says Brown. "I'm tired of the gridlock. It makes me just so disgusted to walk in there and see, you know, the usual spotting on votes on both sides." (Watch the ABC Interview with Scott Brown)

Brown says if Republicans gain control of the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the current minority leader, will still have to "earn my vote."

"I'm not going to be happy with the gridlock that we've had, so I'm going to wait and see, and see who emerges, see if anyone's going to challenge him, and then I'll figure it out," says Brown, who agrees that McConnell bears some of the blame for the constant obstruction.

Warren enjoyed early support from Democrats thanks to a video of her speaking on fair taxation and debt.

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody," Warren says in the video, which appeared online late last year. "You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear, you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you all were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for."

Warren stands by what she said in the video.

"We all invest in education, we invest in roads, and bridges, we invest in police and firefighters and those are the conditions that we all help create so that people can grow their businesses and create opportunities for all of us and that it's really important when that happens, that we continue to pay it forward for all of us," Warren told ABC News. "Nobody pulls up the ladder. Everybody pays a fair share, and continues to make those investments in the future." (Watch ABC's interview with Elizabeth Warren)

Brown says that video has helped his campaign.

"It's actually galvanized the small business owners and the people that are out there working hard and getting up in the middle of the night or early in the morning and providing services. Third-, fourth-, fifth- generation businesses, they're deeply offended and they're voting for me."

Republicans need to pick up at least three Senate seats to win the majority on Election Day.

They've got a good chance in Republican-leaning states like North Dakota, Montana and Nebraska. And former WWE executive Linda McMahon even has a shot in Connecticut.

But Massachusetts has remained a toss-up.

Polls have been consistently neck and neck throughout the race, with Warren recently pulling a few points ahead. The latest poll shows Warren up five percentage points, 43 percent to 38 percent.

Asked why in one of the most Democratic states in the entire country, with President Obama polling now with a 30-point lead in the latest polls, this is even a race in the first place, Warren demurred.

"You know, I'm out there every single day working for every single vote," Warren replied. "That's what I should be doing and that is what I am doing."

If Democrats can defeat Brown -- they probably keep the Senate.

It may not matter to Scott Brown whether Republicans control the Senate but Elizabeth Warren is betting it will matter a whole lot to all those Democratic voters in Massachusetts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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