We have a race.
On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch became the second candidate to officially enter the race to fill the Senate seat vacated by brand-new Secretary of State John Kerry, following his fellow Democratic Congressman Ed Markey.
Lynch and Markey will now face off in a primary set for April 30 for the right to represent the Democratic Party in the special election on June 25 against a still unknown Republican opponent.
No GOP candidate has officially entered the race yet. Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown announced Friday that he would not run for Senate. But late Friday afternoon, Republican Richard Tisei said he was mulling the idea of running for the seat. Last fall, Tisei lost his challenge to John Tierney for the Sixth Congressional District seat.
There are differences between Lynch and Markey, despite being members of the same party. Lynch voted against Obamacare, officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while Markey voted for the bill.
Lynch also has an anti-abortion stance, although it's not absolute—Planned Parenthood currently gives him a score of 83 percent to Markey's 100 percent. The National Right to Life Committee, meanwhile, gave Lynch a score of 10 percent during the last Congressional session, while Markey received a zero.
The most recent National Journal rankings from 2011 give Markey a liberal score of 89.2, making him the 41st most liberal member of the House, while Lynch received a liberal score of 72.8, ranking him the 123rd most liberal member of the House.
Lynch also touts his union support as a former ironworker who then graduated from law school and later won his current congressional seat in 2001, while Markey, also a lawyer by trade, was first elected to Congress in 1976.
Another potential factor: the state's unenrolled voters, who can choose to cast a ballot in any party's primary. More than half of Bay State voters are registered as unenrolled, which would allow unenrolled voters who lean right to vote in the Democratic primary for Lynch — or against Markey — if they decide to show up at the polls. During the special Senate election in 2010 between Brown and state Attorney General Martha Coakley, during the height of the Obamacare debate, 54 percent of registered Massachusetts voters turned out.
Who would you vote for if the primary were held today: Lynch or Markey? Are you an unenrolled voter and, if so, do you plan to vote in the Democratic primary on April 30? Tell us your plans to vote in the comments below.
PREVIOUSLY ON PATCH:
- Lynch Announces U.S. Senate Run on Facebook
- Gov. Patrick Names William 'Mo' Cowan Interim Senator
- John Kerry’s Confirmation Hearing Scheduled for Jan. 24
- Brown Questions Markey's Malden Residency
- Who Do You Think Should Run for Kerry’s Seat?
- U.S. Rep. Markey to Run For Kerry's Senate Seat
- VIDEO: Markey Will 'Seriously Consider' Run for Senate
- TELL US: What Should Scott Brown Do Next?