The Massachusetts Republican Party remains optimistic about the upcoming special election to fill the senate seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry. But it appears the minority party in the Bay State is facing long odds.
Republicans are facing a number of challenges in their quest to pick off a Democratic seat in the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. The immediate challenge for the party is getting a candidate willing to commit to the race, according to Tim Vercellotti, a political science professor at Western New England University.
Former Republican Senator Scott Brown, who would have been the front runner, according to several polls, opted to sit this special election out. Others who took a pass included former governor William Weld, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, former Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, and Tagg Romney, eldest son of the former governor and presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
State Representative Dan Winslow jumped into the race. State Senator Bruce Tarr is said to be weighing a run, as are a couple of lesser offer holders and a former Navy SEAL .Vercellotti said there is not much time for the field to take shape because of a February 27th deadline to collect 10,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
There are two veteran U.S. Representatives running on the Democratic side, Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch.
Massachusetts GOP communications director Tim Buckley said the party is optimistic about the special election.
Cecelia Calabrese, a member of the Agawam Republican Town Committee, said the senate candidate will have to bridge a divide in the state party. She said there is a rift between moderates and dogmatic conservatives that was evident in the recent election of a new party chairperson.
The special election on June 25th is to fill the rest of Kerry’s unexpired term, which means another senate election will be held in Massachusetts in 2014.