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Indeed, on most issues, both members are in step with their party. In votes in 2012 where a majority of Democrats voted against a majority of Republicans, Lynch voted with his party 91 percent of the time whereas Markey voted with his party 99 percent of the time.
“Calling me the least liberal member from Massachusetts is like calling me the slowest Kenyan in the Boston Marathon,’’ Lynch told the Boston Globe in 2010. “It’s all relative.’’
Each candidate will bring different strengths in the sprint to the primary on April 30.
“Stevie will be more of a street fighter, and Eddie will be more of [a TV] air warrior,” one plugged-in Boston official told CQ Roll Call.
With $3.1 million in the bank in November, Markey had a financial advantage over Lynch’s $740,000. Support from the national Democratic establishment probably means that fundraising gap will continue to grow.
While no one expects a particularly bloody primary between colleagues, their differences are expected to be accentuated.
“It will be a largely positive campaign,” said a Democratic operative who supports Markey. “But Democratic, progressive values will play a role. Lynch is out of step with those priorities, and that will be a big deal.”
“I’m hard-pressed to think of a time when a pro-life candidate has won a Democratic primary,” the operative added.
If Lynch manages to get through the primary, his anti-abortion views could add difficulty in a general election, as progressive voters might not be as inclined to schlep to the polls to support him.
On Wednesday, Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick set the date of the special election for June 25. In the interim, he appointed his former chief of staff, William “Mo” Cowan, to the Senate. Cowan will not run in the special election.
Former Sen. Scott P. Brown, a Republican who was defeated by now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren in November, has not said whether he will run in the special election. If he doesn’t run, the Democratic nominee is very likely to be the state’s next senator, as the bench of Republicans in the state is thin.