As if the Democrats didn't have enough worries for 2014 with so many of their seats up in red states, now Massachusetts is becoming a close call. The seat was vacated by Senator John Kerry when he accepted the President's offer to become Secretary of State. Few worried that it could fall into Republican hands after former Senator Scott Brown decided that New Hampshire might be more friendly toward him!
Congressman Ed Markey easily won the Democratic nomination.
However an attractive 'moderate' Republican Gabriel Gomez won the Republican nomination. The Hispanic former Navy Seal is the kind of Republican that gives Democrats big headaches in Massachusetts. In fact he might be the new face of the Republican Party. He is born of Columbian immigrents, hispanic, supports marriage equality and young.
Markey leads by only 4%!
If Democrats fail to keep this seat, this could spell trouble for the Party to keep the Senate in 2014.
Public Policy Polling recently completed a poll and reported.
PPP's first poll of the general election in the Massachusetts Senate special finds a close race, with Ed Markey leading Gabriel Gomez by a 44-40 margin.
Gomez is starting out as a pretty popular candidate, with 41% of voters rating him favorably to 27% with an unfavorable opinion. Beyond having good numbers with Republicans he's at 42/24 with independents, and actually seen narrowly positively even by Democrats at 33/32. Voters meanwhile are more divided on Markey, with 44% holding a positive view of him to 41% with a negative one. He's at 31/50 with independents.
For a Republican to be competitive in Massachusetts they need to win independents by a hefty margin and get a fair amount of crossover support from Democrats, and right now Gomez is doing both of those things. He's up 47/31 with independents and winning over 21% of Democratic voters. Both those numbers suggest that some folks who supported Stephen Lynch in the primary are being a little reticent about supporting Markey in the general.