Reporter's Notebook: Offense quick off mark for Markey senate bid

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Jan. 3, 2013

First John Kerry. Then Vicki Kennedy. And then the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In quick succession on a Friday afternoon, all three lined up behind Congressman Ed Markey’s bid for Kerry’s Senate seat.

“While I began last week to formally step out of politics, and it’s very important that I respect the apolitical nature of the post I hope to soon occupy, as Massachusetts’s senior senator today and as a colleague of Ed Markey’s for 28 years, I’m excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate,” said Kerry, who is expected to become President Obama’s chief diplomat next month.

Kerry pointed to Markey’s lengthy time in office: “He’s gutsy and tough, smart and sharp, a workhorse in Congress who has never forgotten where he came from or who sent him to Washington,” Kerry said.
The DSCC circulated Kerry’s comments, and then quickly e-mailed out a statement from its chair, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. “At a time when the country needs real leadership that looks out for the middle class, Ed Markey always remembers where he came from and will continue the hard work needed to turn our economy around,” Bennet said. “He is exactly the kind of leader Massachusetts needs in the US Senate.”

Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late US Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, issued her own statement of support for Markey, a Malden Democrat and dean of the state’s Congressional delegation.

A special election to replace Kerry will likely occur this summer. Gov. Deval Patrick will pick an interim senator to sit in the seat during the campaign, and he has expressed a preference for the pick not to be a candidate for the full term.

Other politicians said to be mulling a bid include Congressmen Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) and Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston), and state Sen. Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield).

Outgoing Sen. Scott Brown, a Wrentham Republican who was defeated by consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren in November, has not publicly indicated whether he will jump into the fray and attempt a return to the Senate.

In a fundraising e-mail that hit in-boxes before the spate of statements backing Markey, Lynch touted his reelection to the district that includes Dorchester’s coast. “Because of your hard work, we received the highest vote totals of any congressional campaign in Massachusetts and came in 6th in the nation!” the email said.

The statements from Kerry and others drew a sharp response from Capuano, who echoed some of the anti-establishment bent of his Congressional campaign in 1998. “It seems that the big names of our party are trying to choose our nominee for us,” he said in his own statement to reporters, according to WBUR 90.9.

“When I became mayor of Somerville, the establishment wasn’t with me. When I became a member of Congress, the establishment wasn’t with me. If I make this run it will be the same way, from the streets up, not from the elite down.”

Menino returns to City Hall
Mayor Thomas Menino’s office said this week he will swear in Michael O’Neill, who has been reappointed to the seven-member School Committee. Menino, who was released from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in time for Christmas, has been spending time on Beacon Hill at the Parkman House, which has an elevator.

But he has also swung by City Hall, from which came a photo from Dec. 27 showing the mayor sitting in his office with his back to the camera. “Spending my birthday the best way I know how – in my chair at City Hall working on our city,” the staff-written caption said.

Menino was joined in the picture, above, by three aides: Martha Pierce, Howard Leibowitz, and Chris Osgood. Pierce and Leibowitz are longtime administration aides while Osgood is a member of Menino’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, which focuses on innovations in city services.

On New Year’s Eve, the mayor’s office did not immediately disclose where the swearing-in will take place.

“Michael O’Neill has been a valued member of the Boston School Committee, providing insight and expertise in the areas of financial strategies and youth development,” Menino said in a statement. “He has served with professionalism and integrity and I am honored to re-appoint him.”

O’Neill, 52, is receiving a second four-year term. A Charlestown resident and Boston Latin School graduate, he works at Savings Bank Life Insurance as senior vice president of marketing and distribution.

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