In the fight for Secretary of State John Kerry's senate seat, the race may come down to traditional Democrat versus traditional Republican. Ed Markey has served 18 terms, or 36 years, in the fifth district of Massachusetts. His main challenger, Gabriel Gomez, is a political neophyte and former Navy SEAL. During last night's debate, Markey (D) and Gomez (R) tussled over the major political issues of the day.
Though the debate had no clear winner, the latest polls are showing Markey ahead by 12%. This lead may be because of his name recognition, the fact that the state is overwhelmingly Democratic, or it may show a singular lack of interest in either candidate — special middle-of-term elections do not usually get much play.
Yet if one looks at their quotes on foreign policy, one can see that they share a similarity— neither wants to look at adding to the U.S. tally of conflicts as anything other than a final option. According to WWLP's debate recap, Markey stated, "There has to be an imminent threat to the United States. There has to be no other option then for our country to send in our military; it is the most important decision."
According to the same recap, Gomez then replied, "Putting troops on the ground is the last option that we should do, before we've expanded every form of diplomacy possible. National security has to be a threat in order for us to even consider that; and of course you want to build a coalition if possible." Although Gomez' language was a bit muddled (I'm pretty sure he meant we should expend [not expand] diplomacy before [not after] going to war), it is obvious that the two statements mean the same.
However, the two candidates did clash on other issues, namely Benghazi and abortion. Many Republicans wish to lay the Benghazi attack firmly at the feet of the Obama administration, specifically Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, many Democrats feel that any criticism of the handling of the attack is a cheap ploy to torpedo any chance Clinton may have to run for president in 2016, despite the fact that she has stated clearly that she will not be doing so.
On the front of a woman's right to choose, neither candidate cleared the bar, but Markey fared slightly better. Gomez contends that he would back an anti-abortion judicial candidate, yet Markey wants to impose a 24-hour waiting period on abortions.
Both face an almost-laughable third party challenge from Richard Heos of the Twelve Visions Party, a back to the roots, rah-rah, Tea-Party-esque organization. Heos is not scheduled to be in the two remaining debates before June 25ths special election.