On Eve of MA Special Election, Markey Leads but Gomez Surging

Longtime US Rep. Ed Markey continues to lead in the polls leading up to the special election to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry but with a last minute TV ad campaign and a national television appearance Sunday, Republican Gabriel Gomez is trying to “pull off a Scott Brown.”

For a first-time candidate, Gomez seems to be doing everything right to try to duplicate what fellow Republican Scott Brown did in 2010 when he upset Democratic establishment candidate Martha Coakley to replace Ted Kennedy in the deepest of blue states. Brown utilized the fact that it was a special selection meaning very low voter turnout. Tuesday’s contest comes as school is just out—including for college students who are a traditionally a voting block for Democrats—and people are concentrating not so much on politics as on summer vacations.

Gomez did himself good with an appearance this weekend on Fox News Sunday. He handled some tough questions well, appeared relaxed and confident, and presented himself as an independent candidate who would not follow the national Republican Party on key issues including gay rights and immigration. Anchor Chris Wallace noted that Markey was invited to appear but declined. Markey is clearly playing it safe, content to ride it out in the hopes that people will pull the lever for him simply because he has a “D” after his name.

Markey, who has been in Congress for 37 years, continues to lead in the polls anywhere from eight to 13 points.

Both sides have brought in the big guns. President Obama and former President Bill Clinton both have stumped for Markey. Gomez has had the backing of maverick Republican John McCain and is getting help from Brown.

Voter turnout, particularly in a special election, is key. A very low turnout that includes a good number of independents and Republican favor Gomez but Markey remains the favorite.