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Lynch, Markey Hit the Road, Republicans Get Started

Nomination papers deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 27

With only days to go before nomination papers are due in the race for U.S. Senate, last week was a busy one for announced and potential candidates looking to fill the seat left vacant by John Kerry’s appointment to Secretary of State.

The Republican field lost one prominent candidate, and another generated a bit of controversy. On the Democratic side, Congressmen Edward Markey (D-Malden) and Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) have been working through their pre-primary debate schedule and campaigning across the state.

Democrats Markey and Lynch hit the road

Both Democratic candidates hit the road again last week from Pittsfield to Salem, meeting with residents and attending fundraisers.

Markey had campaign stops in Taunton, Fall River, Lowell and Pittsfield, to name a few.

On Thursday, Lynch spoke to the Boston Firefighters Local 718. He also had campaign stops in several communities, including Lynn, Methuen, Peabody and Salem.

On Wednesday, Lynch and Markey signed a deal to limit outside groups from producing ads during the Democratic Primary. The deal is based on a similar pledge signed by Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren during the 2012 Senate Race.

Also last week, Lynch received the endorsement of the 75,000-member Massachusetts Building Trades Council. Markey was endorsed by Daily Kos.

Last week also saw a new poll released in the U.S. Senate race. Conducted by WBUR/MassINC, the poll showed Markey holding a slim 38 percent to 31 percent lead over Lynch in the primary, with 26 percent saying they’re still unsure who they will vote for. The poll also showed that either Democratic candidate would hold a lead over a generic Republican.

Bielat drops out of Republican primary race

Republican Sean Bielat said Wednesday that while he thought he could run a strong campaign, the timing wasn't right for him to run, according to an Associated Press report.

He previously ran for Congress -- twice, against Barney Frank and Joe Kennedy III, who he lost to in November.

Bielat had sought donations to run last weekend and even filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

The field of Republican candidates could be crowded if no one pulls out of a potential run and if everyone who pulled papers gets them in by the deadline. Candidates have until Wednesday, Feb. 27 to gather the 10,000 certified signatures needed to appear on the April 30 primary ballot. The special election is June 25. No papers have been submitted as of Feb. 21 according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Already in the running are State Rep. Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk), former Nantucket selectman and county commissioner Douglas Bennett and former Navy Seal Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset

Gomez launched a YouTube ad for his campaign last week announcing his run. He was also at the center of the biggest controversy yet in this young U.S. Senate campaign, as the Boston Globe and other outlets reported Thursday that he lobbied Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint him interim Senator following Kerry’s resignation. Some say that could hurt him in the Republican primary, since he reached out to the governor for what was considered a Democratic appointment.

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan has made his intentions known that he was thinking about joining the race for the seat but no announcement has been made.

Jeffrey P. Donnelly of Indian Orchard has also announced he is running on his website.

According to Brian McNiff, Spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, nomination papers have also been pulled by Joshua Hill, Therese Rohrbeck, Helen Brady, Nick Starling and Gary Nylander.

Beverly Libertarian Daniel Fishman is also looking to get his name on the ballot.

The last day for residents to register to vote in the April 30 primary is April 10.

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