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May 1, 2013

Veteran Markey faces newcomer Gomez for U.S. Senate seat

Valley vote mirrors statewide tally in low-turnout primary

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, the liberal Democrat who has been a congressman for over three decades, will face Republican Gabriel Gomez — the Navy pilot and SEAL, son of Colombian immigrants and political newcomer — in next month’s special election to fill the Senate seat previously held by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Markey and Gomez dominated their respective competition in yesterday’s primaries to get their names on the June 25 election ballot, along with Richard Heos, an independent from Woburn.

Markey, D-Malden, who was first elected to Congress in 1976, defeated fellow U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch of South Boston, by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results based on 97 percent of the statewide election returns last night.

Meanwhile, Gomez, a Cohasset businessman won easily with 51 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race. He defeated former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan (36 percent) and state Rep. Daniel Winslow (13 percent) in the GOP primary, according to unofficial returns.

The campaign, the third U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts in the past four years, was marked in part by the relatively low voter turnout — Lawrence reported a 9.6 percent participation rate while Andover’s was 15.8 percent, with other towns reporting similar numbers.

Local residents who did vote virtually mirrored the statewide results — with Markey and Gomez winning in most local towns and cities. Only voters in Methuen, where Democrats supported Lynch by a 63 percent margin, and in Groveland, where Lynch received 58 percent of the votes, differed from the statewide trends.

Many political observers noted the apathy preceding this race, including Democratic state Sen. Barry Finegold from Andover.

“It’s been a difficult campaign,” he said, after voting Tuesday morning at Andover High School. “We had a major snow storm in February, and what happened in Boston, along with voter fatigue, it’s just not what people are talking about at the water cooler.”

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