With exactly one week until the party primaries in the special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts the two Democratic candidates will participate in a debate in Springfield.
This debate between Congressman Stephen Lynch and Congressman Edward Markey was rescheduled from last week after the candidates suspended their campaigns following the Boston Marathon bombings. The Senate race had not generated much interest up to that point, and with the distractions of last week; it’s hard to say what impact the debate could have, according to Western New England University political science professor Tim Vercellotti.
The most recent poll conducted by Western New England University’s Polling Institute had Markey with a ten- point lead over Lynch. But, the poll showed a third of likely voters could still change their minds or are yet to make up their minds about who to vote for next Tuesday. Look for Lynch to come out swinging tonight, according to Democratic political advisor Mike Shea.
In a debate that aired live on a Boston T.V. station Monday night, Lynch repeatedly criticized Markey for being just one of a handful of representatives to vote against creating the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the agency that responded to last week’s bombings. Look for more of this tonight, as homeland security is on the top of everyone’s mind.
Tonight’s debate is being held from 7 to 8 in the Springfield studios of public television station WGBY. It is sponsored by a western Massachusetts media consortium. It will be broadcast live, and streamed live on the websites of several members of the consortium.
While the three Republican candidates in the senate race have been sniping at each other for more than a month, the Democratic race has been gentile by comparison. There have been no negative ads and until last night neither candidate was very animated during debates. Markey has made relatively few public appearances, and his campaign appears to be concentrating its resources on a large get out the vote effort.
Turnout could be bolstered on April 30th because of the decision by more than 50 towns to move annual spring municipal elections to the same date as the Senate primaries. Communities could do this because of special legislation introduced by the state’s top election official Secretary of State William Galvin.
Voter registration for the primary has closed. People who are registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote only in their respective party’s primary. But un-enrolled voters, often referred to as independents can chose to vote in either primary.
The winners of the primaries on April 30th will advance to the special election on June 25th