Mass. congressman Markey announces candidacy for Kerry’s Senate seat

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W. James Antle III Managing Editor
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Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey became the first candidate to announce for the state’s 2013 special election for U.S. Senate, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.

Markey, first elected in 1976, is the commonwealth’s longest-serving federal lawmaker. After winning 19 House races, Markey is seeking a promotion to the Senate seat Democrat John Kerry plans to vacate to become secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s second term. The Malden, Massachusetts Democrat is also the second-most senior legislator from New England.

During his long congressional career, Markey has championed environmental causes. He sponsored a cap-and-trade bill bearing his name with California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman. Waxman-Markey passed the House but died in the Senate before the 2010 elections. Markey was also the chairman of the short-lived House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee.

With the exception of a somewhat competitive re-election race in 1994, Markey’s congressional district has been safely Democratic. But in the statement he released throwing his hat in the ring, the congressman sought to show he was ready for a fight.

“With Senator Kerry’s departure, Massachusetts voters will decide once again whether we want a senator who will fight for all our families or one who supports a Republican agenda that benefits only the powerful and well-connected,” Markey said. “I refuse to allow the tea party-dominated Republican Party to lead us off the fiscal cliff and into recession. I won’t allow the [National Rifle Association] to obstruct an assault weapons ban yet again. I will not sit back and allow oil and coal industry lobbyists to thwart our clean energy future or extremists to restrict women’s rights and health care.”

If nominated, Markey could face Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who was defeated for re-election by Elizabeth Warren in November but may run again in the special election. Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick will appoint an interim senator who is likely to be a caretaker rather than a candidate for the remainder of Kerry’s term.

Brown won the remainder of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s term in 2010 in a special election held under similar circumstances.

There is no guarantee Markey will be the Democratic candidate, however. Eight-term Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano is also considering a run, which would set up a potentially competitive primary.

Markey is a graduate of Boston College Law School and has over $3 million in campaign cash on hand.

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