US Representative Stephen F. Lynch told the Globe this afternoon that he hasn’t yet made up his mind about running for the US Senate in the special election to fill John F. Kerry’s seat. Just a day earlier, the strong message from the Lynch camp was that he would definitely be announcing his campaign next week.
The Globe and other news outlets reported today that he was running for the seat. The Globe story was based on interviews with people who had direct knowledge of Lynch’s decision making.
If he decides to run, Lynch will make the announcement within several days after Kerry’s expected confirmation as President Obama’s secretary of state, those people said.
A recent poll showed Markey leading Lynch in a direct match-up by about 10 points. That survey was commissioned by the National Association of Government Employees, a major union that typically backs Democrats, and conducted by Massachusetts pollster David Paleologos.
The same poll showed former senator Scott Brown leading Markey in a potential match up, 49 percent to 39 percent. In a theoretical Brown-Lynch race, Brown would lead Lynch 42 percent to 33 percent.
If Lynch enters the race, it presents a major quandary for organized labor. A former ironworker and former president of Ironworkers Local 7, Lynch has deep roots and many friends in labor, and will be pushing hard for union support in the Democratic primary. Without a large union army turning out voters against Markey, he could have a hard time toppling his colleague from Malden, whose liberal positions might appeal more to the party’s base.
Steven Tolman, president of the AFL-CIO of Massachusetts, estimated that Lynch, by virtue of his labor background, already has the support of about 50 percent of the movement’s members in Massachusetts. It is not clear, however, if Lynch can lock up the two-thirds majority needed to win the AFL-CIO’s endorsement, Tolman said. It is also not clear if the AFL-CIO will endorse in the primary, or sit out the race and wait until the general election, he said.
“Sometimes we have to embrace a spirited Democratic primary, and sometimes it makes people uncomfortable because of friendships but, in politics, we have to be prepared to make decisions,” said Tolman, a former Democratic state lawmaker who served with Lynch in the state House and state Senate. “What is clear is he has an awful lot of long-term commitments and friendships in labor. We grew up with him.”