Polls open for primaries to special election

By Jeffrey Okerman

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Collegian file photo

Candidates will vie to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s vacant U.S. Senate seat in a special statewide primary on Tuesday.           

The primary is the precursor to what will be the second special election to fill a vacant seat in the past four years. Scott Brown replaced longtime Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy following his death in the first special election in 2010.

Democrats will be choosing from current House of Representatives members Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch.

Markey has served in the House since 1976 and currently represents Massachusetts’ 5th District. The 66-year-old serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Natural Resources.

Lynch served as a member of the Massachusetts House and Senate before moving on to Washington in 2001. Until redistricting moved Lynch to the 8th District, he represented Massachusetts’ 9th District in the U.S. House. The 58-year-old currently sits on the Financial Services and the Government Oversight and Reform committees.

The Republican Party has three candidates – Gabriel Gomez, Michael Sullivan and Daniel Winslow – on the primary ballot.

Gomez is the son of Colombian immigrants who has set himself the goal of becoming the new face of the GOP, according to the Associated Press. The 47-year-old businessman was a Navy pilot and SEAL before completing his MBA at Harvard University.

Sullivan has served in the federal government since 2001, but not as an elected official. In 2001, Sullivan became the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and in 2006, was selected to be the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The 58-year-old served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 but stepped down when he was named Plymouth District Attorney.

From the 9th Norfolk District, Winslow, a Northampton native, is a second-term Massachusetts Representative who replaced Richard Ross after he ran for Scott Brown’s vacated Senate spot.

Polls will open in Amherst at 7 a.m. and all 10 precincts will stay open until 8 p.m.

Jeffrey Okerman can be reached at [email protected]