Despite Republican challenger Tom Tierney’s left-leaning platform, experts predict that incumbent Democrat and 36-year veteran Congressman Ed Markey will secure the Fifth Congressional seat after the election this Tuesday.
“Truth be told, I don’t think many of us think this is a race,” said Lawrence S. DiCara ’71, a former Boston City Councillor and a Massachusetts political scene staple.
Both candidates vying to represent the district, which encompasses Harvard’s campus and much of Central Cambridge, have stressed the urgency of the nation’s economic problems. They have focused on stagnant unemployment levels and ballooning national debt.
In addressing these issues, Markey emphasized the value of investing in education and innovation. He said that Republican-driven legislation would result in cuts for important funding in clean energy, biotechnology, the National Institutes of Health, and other sectors.
“The consequences of that would be disastrous for the Massachusetts economy,” he said, adding that the election is a “fight over the best way to create jobs.”
As one of the longest-serving members of the House, Markey boasts a history of service for Congressional committees related to the energy and the telecommunications industries. He currently serves as the highest ranking Democrat in the House Natural Resources Committee.
If re-elected, the Massachusetts native said that he would work to advocate for increased use of renewable energy as well as legislation to protect the privacy of students who use technology.
Similarly, Tierney has stressed economic issues on the campaign trail.
As a relatively moderate Republican, his platform leans left, revolving around four objectives: preserving the Social Security program, reforming “Obamacare,” altering the tax policy, and lowering unemployment.
Tierney, who said he would push for increased taxes, called Romney’s tax plan “crazy” and argued for a return to Clinton-Gingrich era tax policies.
Given the polarized nature of today’s Congress and the Tea Party’s increased presence, Tierney said, only a Republican and a fresh face can affect broad change in the House.
“After 36 years, [Markey] is just burnt out. He has no more fight left,” said the Republican challenger, saying that his competitor lacked his “fire in the belly.”
Tierney, who works as a self-employed consulting actuary, has run for Congress seven times, though he said that only three of the races—the 1984, 2010, and the current election—were “serious.” The other four contests, he said, were “protest runs” and “campaigns of honor.”
With his atypical blend of Republicanism and left-leaning economic views, Tierney said that he has lacked support of his party establishment.
Given Markey’s history of service and popularity in the area, most experts predict that he will easily win. He has earned endorsements from both The Boston Globe and The Melrose Free Press.