It’s hard to remember a campaign as terrible as the one currently before us.
In 2010 we had a race between a popular attorney general, Martha Coakley, and a backbenching state senator that once posed in Cosmo, Scott Brown. Coakley imploded in spectacular fashion and Brown did everything right and pulled off an upset for the ages. Later that year we watched Charlie Baker, Deval Patrick, and Tim Cahill slug it out in a three-way deathmatch for governor.
In 2012 we saw a race between a one time national Republican darling in Brown and a liberal icon in Elizabeth Warren. Both candidates were interesting, exciting, and could hold our attention for more than five minutes. They were two polarizing figures that everyone seemed to have an opinion on. The race was intense but in the end it was never that close. Of course that year a former governor from Massachusetts was challenging the sitting president of the United States for the most powerful office in the world, too.
In 2013 we have, quite possibly, the most lackluster statewide election in recent memory.
Congressman Ed Markey, a fossil that’s spent more time in Washington than I have on this planet, could not be more pedestrian in his candidacy and his campaign. His candidacy is as exciting as wallpaper. Markey gives the impression that he is genuinely annoyed that he actually has to run for the office he is seeking. Even when he’s trying to connect with people on the trail he appears detached and longing for the Beltway.
Businessman Gabriel Gomez, a young and possibly promising Massachusetts political figure in desperate need of some seasoning, often seems astoundingly canned in his public appearances. Gomez just looks lost a lot of the time and unsure of how to be a candidate for a major public office. The awkward usage of his valuable bilingual skills and Scott Brownesque flight jacket only adds to the pandering desperation of his candidacy.
Voter fatigue, something we are all suffering from, can often be overcome by interesting and dynamic candidates that have captivating messages, even one candidate with some combination of these things can energize a race but these two have neither. They’re dull, milquetoast, and bring little to the table in terms of fresh ideas.
The attempts by both campaigns to make this race appear close, for fundraising purposes or volunteer morale, are comically bad. Markey has had an all but commanding lead in this race since he won the Democratic primary.
Even the attacks from outside groups are tired and mailed in. This week voters across the Commonwealth received a mailer blasting Gomez for his time as a “Wall Street guy” and likened him to a Yankee fan. No, really. Take a look:
The injection of pro sports into our political campaigns has increased every cycle and it is now beyond patronizing. The insert of that mailer even includes a photo of Markey in an L.L. Bean style jacket with a Red Sox poster over his shoulder. I guess injecting a Bruins reference or two to make things more timely was a step too far.
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