BOSTON (AP) — Longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey defeated Republican political newcomer Gabriel Gomez in a special election on Tuesday for the state's U.S. Senate seat long held by John Kerry, a race that failed to draw the attention that the state's 2010 special Senate election did.
Markey, 66, won the early backing of Kerry and much of the state's Democratic political establishment, which was set on avoiding a repeat of the stunning loss it suffered three years ago, when Republican state Sen. Scott Brown upset Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley in the election to replace the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Gomez, a 47-year-old businessman and former Navy SEAL, positioned himself as a moderate and Washington outsider who would challenge partisan gridlock, contrasting himself with Markey, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1976.
With almost all precincts reporting late Tuesday, Markey had 55 percent, or about 629,000 votes, and Gomez had 45 percent, or about 513,000 votes.
Markey, who declared victory two hours after the polls closed, ticked off a slew of legislative priorities. He said he wanted to help spark a "green energy revolution," protect seniors, boost job growth in Massachusetts and ensure young people can attend college without shouldering enormous debt.
Markey, who has served in the state's congressional delegation for 37 years, also emphasized his humble roots in Malden.
"Thanks to the opportunities this country gave me, this son of a milkman is going to serve the state of Massachusetts in the United States Senate," he said.
He told voters he doesn't take the Senate race win lightly.
"I go there to stand for you. To speak for you. To seek change that lifts up your families and your future," he said.
Gomez said he wished Markey "nothing but the best." He said he'd waged the campaign with honor and integrity but was heavily outspent by Democrats.