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An emerging multi-ethnic majority

5/8/2013, 11:05 a.m.
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A political newcomer, Gomez won 51 percent of the vote in a three-man race. Michael J. Sullivan, the GOP front-runner, tallied only 36 percent and Daniel B. Winslow trailed with 13.1 percent. These are both outstanding public officials. Sullivan is a former state prosecutor and U.S. attorney. Winslow is a state representative and former district court judge.

The 46-year-old Gomez is a retired Navy Seal with a compelling biography. A successful private equity investor, he is the son of immigrants from Colombia. With 9.6 percent of the Massachusetts population Hispanic, it is helpful that he is fluent in Spanish.

Democratic operatives cannot rely on the fact that Massachusetts is essentially a blue state. The majority of voters (52.6 percent) are registered as Independents. Undue reliance on the more than 3-to-1 Democratic majority over registered Republicans brought victory to Scott Brown in the 2010 special U.S. Senate election.

Markey has an advantage — 294,602 citizens have already voted for him in the primary and will likely do so in the general election. Only 88,928 votes were cast for Gomez. Markey has only a short time to build a dynamic retail campaign to attract a majority of the state’s uncommitted voters to his political philosophy.