EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 23, 2013

Markey has edge with local Hispanics

LAWRENCE — Several recent polls show U.S. Senate hopeful Gabriel Gomez trailing his Democratic rival for the seat, Congressman Edward Markey, in the week leading up to Tuesday’s special election.

In Lawrence, Gomez’s climb seems especially uphill as local community and political leaders said this week that many of the city’s voters likely will come out for Markey despite Gomez’s Latino heritage and his outreach in the city, having visited multiple times since he announced his candidacy earlier this year.

Markey supporters in Lawrence said that while they admire Gomez’s personal story, they will vote for Markey because he lines up with them on multiple issues in this overwhelmingly Democratic city.

“He may be Latino, but we’re supporting the candidate who has the best package for everybody,” said Rafael Guzman, president of RN Technologies and a Markey supporter.

Guzman said he supports Markey’s positions on immigration, women’s rights and the social safety net.

State Rep. Marcos Devers, D-Lawrence, appeared with Markey in Lawrence recently and has been working for his campaign. Devers, who also is challenging William Lantigua in the mayoral election, said he admires Gomez’s background, but thinks voters will choose the candidate whom they agree with.

“I know that Gabriel is Hispanic and I commend him and admire him for his accomplishments. He served our country, and wants to serve our nation as a senator,” Devers said. “However, party policies and the platform is where we might have our differences, and the way the issues are addressed.”

Devers also disagrees with Gomez on immigration, and thinks electing Markey in the Senate will help President Obama pass his agenda.

Enrique Matos, a Republican who lost to Devers for state representative in 2010, said Gomez’ history – he is the American-born son of Colombian immigrants, joined the Navy and qualified for one of its elite SEAL teams, graduated from Harvard University and succeeded in business – makes him a role model.

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