Michael Sullivan’s tired, uninspired debate performance

Dan Winslow and Gabriel Gomez at least seemed interesting in tonight’s Republican Senate debate, sponsored by WBZ and the Boston Globe. But Michael Sullivan, who’s way ahead in some polls, came across as old and cranky, a garden-variety right-winger who couldn’t even bring himself to support the gun-control compromise announced in Washington today.

It seems to me that either Winslow or Gomez could at least make the Democratic nominee — Steve Lynch or, more likely, Ed Markey — break a sweat. If either of them gets a chance, that is.

And, oh, the Massachusetts Republican Party has come to this: both Sullivan and Gomez attacked Winslow for being part of a governor’s team that raised taxes and passed Romneycare. If Willard Mitt Romney is now too liberal for Republican primary voters, then their candidate is headed off an electoral cliff.

Lynch staggers under weight of chip on his shoulder

I thought Ed Markey and Steve Lynch both acquitted themselves fairly well in the Democratic Senate debate last night sponsored by the Boston Herald and UMass Lowell. (Herald story here; Boston Globe story here.)

What really struck me, though, was their closing statements, in which they both emphasized their working-class roots. Lynch came off as bitter and resentful. Markey told a lovely, uplifting story about the Dominican immigrants who now live in the Lawrence home where his father grew up.

The contrast turned an otherwise-OK performance for Lynch into a lost opportunity. I’m surprised Lynch can walk upright with that massive chip on his shoulder.

Ed Markey, through the mists of time

Veteran political reporter Peter Lucas reminds us of a great anecdote involving a young state rep named Ed Markey and Massachusetts House Speaker Tom McGee, who died last week. Lucas writes in The Sun of Lowell:

In the middle of his second term in 1975, Markey opposed McGee on a bill dealing with the abolition of part-time district court judges in Massachusetts. As a result, so the story goes, an angry McGee threw Markey, a lawyer, off the Judiciary Committee, and had him and his desk moved out of the committee offices into the hallway.

A year later, a congressional seat opened up, and Markey ran under the slogan “They may tell me where to sit, but nobody tells me where to stand.” It was “boffo,” Lucas writes, and Markey won.

Now, as Markey gears up for a Senate campaign, he’ll have to convince voters that he’s done or said anything as memorable as that in the intervening 38 years.

29 years later, Ed Markey resumes his Senate campaign

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It looks like U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, a Malden Democrat, has decided to run for the Senate vacancy being created by John Kerry’s appointment as secretary of state. (Via David Bernstein.)

This will not be Markey’s first Senate run. In 1984 he was one of several Democrats who jumped in after Sen. Paul Tsongas announced he would not seek re-election because of illness. Markey soon jumped right out and ran for re-election to Congress. (Kerry, of course, was the eventual Senate winner.) Trouble was, a former state senator from Winchester named Sam Rotondi, who was also running for Congress, refused to be a domino and decided to stay in the race.

I covered the Markey-Rotondi race for The Daily Times Chronicle of Woburn, and it went right down to primary day. If I’ve got my years right, Markey then had to beat a stronger-than-usual Republican, former Somerville mayor S. Lester Ralph. It was a fun campaign.

So much for the Republican A-team

Andy Card decides not to run for governor senator. Although I find myself agreeing with Howie Carr — it would be better for the future of the Republican Party if Scott Brown can use the Senate race to build his name recognition.

Ed Markey’s not running, either. No surprise there — he’s got too much seniority in the House.