BOSTON (WWLP) - Congressman Edward Markey has won the Democratic nomination for the special U.S. Senate election.
The Malden Democrat defeated fellow Congressman Stephen Lynch of South Boston. With 73% of precincts reporting just after 9:30 P.M., Markey was leading with 57% the of the vote to Lynch's 43%.
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Markey will now face the winner of the Republican primary, former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez in the June 25 general election to serve the remainder of former Sen. John Kerry's term.
The race was in many ways a fight between two factions of Massachusetts Democrats, with many liberal-leaning groups supporting Markey, and many labor unions backing Lynch, a former ironworker.
Lynch had hoped working class cities and towns would rally behind his union roots, but amid low voter turnout, it was Markey's strong progressive base and climate change credentials that propelled him to win the Democratic Party's nomination.
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, Markey has for decades represented a district containing many of Boston's northern suburbs.
This is actually his second run for the same U.S. Senate seat , having dropped out of a 1984 Democratic primary won by then-Lieutenant Governor John Kerry. Kerry held the seat until earlier this year, when he was confirmed as Secretary of State.
Lynch has represented parts of Boston and a handful of South Shore communities since 2001. He had been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate in past elections, and a potential candidate for mayor of Boston, but declined.
The Massachusetts Democratic Party has scheduled a "unity breakfast" for Wednesday morning in Boston to focus on getting party members on the same page to rally behind Markey for the general election.
Whoever wins on June 25 will not have much time before starting a re-election campaign. Kerry's term runs out in January of 2015, meaning that the winner will have to begin thinking very soon about the 2014 campaign.