Congressman Ed Markey (D-Malden) has officially tossed his hat in the ring as a candidate for Sen. John Kerry’s potentially vacant seat – and already Sen. Scott Brown has publicly challenged Markey’s residency at the Congressman’s childhood home in Malden.
Markey announced his candidacy on Dec. 27th in a press conference.
“With Senator Kerry’s departure, Massachusetts voters will decide once again whether we want a Senator who will fight for all our families or one who supports a Republican agenda that benefits only the powerful and well-connected,” he said. “The events of the last several weeks – from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary to the fiscal cliff debate over tax giveaways to the rich, have all made clear that Massachusetts needs a Senator with the right priorities and values. I have decided to run for the U.S. Senate because this fight is too important. There is so much at stake.”
Since announcing, Markey has received the blessing of Sen. Kerry and of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Kennedy.
However, he hasn’t received any screaming endorsements from one potential adversary, Sen. Scott Brown.
Brown – who leaves the Senate officially today, Jan. 3rd – said in a radio interview this week that he was also tempted to run for the seat, laughingly questioning whether or not Markey actually inhabits the state.
“You’ve got to check travel records. I’ve come back and forth from Washington to Boston every weekend for three years, and I see…most of the delegation, and I have never seen Ed on the airplane – ever,” Brown said during the ‘Jim & Margery Show’ on WTKK 96.9 Wednesday morning.
Brown, who lost in November’s election, is now without a seat, and he is widely seen as a candidate in any Special Election that could arise if Kerry is approved as the new U.S. Secretary of State.
Though it is early, at the moment many are seeing a Brown/Markey showdown for Kerry’s seat.
In an e-mail to supporters on New Year’s Day, Markey made an appeal for contributions towards his candidacy – setting a goal of having 500 contributions by midnight this Friday.
“We cannot allow the Tea Party-controlled Republican Party to lead us off the fiscal cliff, or the NRA to block an assault weapons ban yet again,” read the appeal for support. “We cannot let the oil and coal industries dim our clean energy future, or extremists to restrict women’s rights or access to health care. Right now, I need your help. We need 500 people to support our campaign by Friday at midnight to protect against any early attacks by the special interests. Can you make a contribution right now?”
The residency situation for Markey has been a low-level issue for a decade, rising up to the greatest degree in the 2010 election when his opponent challenged whether or not Markey fulfilled his Constitutional obligation of inhabiting the state he represents.
Using water bills from Markey’s childhood home in Malden, which he lists as his permanent address and voting address, the opponent showed that virtually no water had been used in the house for some time. He also noted the conditions of the home, with weeds growing up in the front.
Markey defended the accusations at the time, producing a valid Massachusetts driver’s license and a valid voter registration from the address.
There was also a debate over whether or not he was an “inhabitant” or a “resident” of the state, and just which is required Constitutionally.
Markey and his wife, Susan Blumenthal, have owned a high-priced home in Chevy Chase, MD since the 1990s. At one time, up until around 2002, tax records in Maryland reflected that Markey listed the home as his primary residence.
However, that was explained to be a mistake and was fixed by officials in Maryland. Since then, and up to 2012, the Maryland home has been listed as a non-permanent residence.
According to reports in the Boston Globe, Markey did conduct a poll on the subject, asking participants whether he was perceived as spending too much time in Washington and too little time in his district.
In his announcement, Markey said he is ready to tour every corner of the state, and apparently intends of spending a great deal of time in Massachusetts over the coming months.
“I look forward to traveling to every corner of the Commonwealth and meeting with the people who make Massachusetts so great,” he said during his announcement.
So far, other than Markey, the Democratic field is wide open. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas announced she would not seek Kerry’s seat, but Congressmen Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) and Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) are still said to be weighing their options.