Sunday, June 30, 2013

Markey wins - no surprises

Last Tuesday, Markey defeated Gabriele Gomez in a ho-hum election that generated little interest.  I was remarkably close in my predictions - maybe I am getting better at this...

  • I predicted a margin of 57%-43%.  The final result was 55%-45%.
  • My turnout projection was 35%.  It ended up being 27%.  Elections on a 90 degree day in late June are only going to bring out the die-hards.  Toss in the fact that there was no real suspense in the race and the 27% is not surprising.
  • As predicted, Markey ran up big victories in Western Mass, the Route 2 corridor west of Boston, and in the cities.  Markey did very well in the Happy Valley (89-11 in Amherst), liberal suburbs (75-25 in Lexington and Newton) and Boston where Mayor Menino helped him win 76% of the vote.
  • Gomez was able to win five of the 14 counties (Barnstable, Plymouth, Worcester, Bristol and Hampdem), and won a majority of towns in Central Mass, Metro Springfield, the Merrimack Valley, and the North and South Shores. However, he just could not compete elsewhere in the state to the level to make it any closer.

Below is the Boston Globe's map of how the communities voted.

As we can see, the communities colored red and blue fairly accurately reflect the regions where each party dominates.  The advantage of the Democrats is that they are able to win and win convincingly in populated areas.

What ifs, maybes, and might-have-beens

Markey's organization and advertising combined with a rookie GOP candidate made this race a snoozer.  Would another GOP candidate, say Scott Brown have yielded a different result?

My instinct is that in this hypothetical that it would have been very close. I think Markey would have prevailed, but by just a couple of points.  The Democratic machine would have been more revved up to turn out a larger vote.  Brown may have had trouble fundraising.  But Brown is a far superior candidate to Gomez (and in my opinion Markey is a lackluster candidate at best) and maybe, just maybe, he could have pulled it off.

Brown was clearly not interested this time around as it would have meant his third race in three years and that takes a huge toll. Brown is still smarting after losing to Warren last November. Also if he lost, his political future would be damaged as he may have trouble raising money after two consecutive senate defeats. But...the seat is up for reelection yet again in 17 months as the special election was simply to fill the remainder of John Kerry's term.  Brown will be thinking very carefully about a run and if Markey is smart, he will be working very hard to cultivate a statewide organization to fend off any potential challenge.  That being said, I still believe that Markey is in good shape for reelection in 2014 considering the political physics of Massachusetts.

Oh yes...2014 with a Governor's race (Martha Coakley vs Charlie Baker??), a senate race, and state legislative and constitutional offices up for grabs.  Candidates are even now beginning to position themselves.  The Prof will be all over this in the very near future.


The Prof