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February 5, 2013

GOP seeks viable candidate for U.S. Senate


U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch have both announced that they’ll seek the Democratic spot in the special election. Democratic heavy-hitters have already lined up behind Markey while Lynch has cast himself as an outsider with working-class roots.

Yesterday, Republican leaders sought to dispel any notion that its search for a viable Senate candidate was turning desperate.

“We are not scrambling to find someone,” said Kirsten Hughes, the newly elected chairwoman of the Massachusetts GOP. “I feel confident we will have a great candidate stepping forward.”

Hughes specifically mentioned state Rep. Daniel Winslow of Norfolk, who scheduled an announcement for today. Winslow is a former judge who served as chief legal counsel in Romney’s administration.

Kerry Healey, who was Romney’s lieutenant governor, is considering a run. Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy Seal, has also expressed interest in the race. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and television commentator, said he’d run if asked by the party and only if there were no other Republicans running.

The clock is ticking for any prospective candidate, who would have to collect 10,000 certified signatures from registered voters by Feb. 27 to qualify for the April 30 primary ballot.

Hughes said she did not believe the deadline would pose a major obstacle.

Markey and Lynch would each likely have a formidable fundraising advantage over the eventual Republican nominee.

While conceding the financial challenges, Hughes insisted that any GOP candidate would appeal to voters as a fresh face over Markey, who has been in Congress since 1976, or Lynch, who was first elected in 2002.

“They’ve served almost 50 years (combined) in Washington,” she said. “They are the D.C. insider crowd that goes along to get along.”

Republicans are quick to point out that Brown was a little-known state senator before his stunning upset in the 2010 special election to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Still, some Democrats could not help but revel in the GOP’s failure to secure a more prominent candidate. Republicans are “now deep into the junior varsity in terms of a statewide race,” the Democratic-leaning Blue Mass Group said on its website yesterday.

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