Republican, a Harvard nanophysics researcher, to run for Markey seat

Mike Stopa spends his days studying tiny, tiny devices, but recently decided to turn his gaze to a much bigger field.

The Holliston Republican, a nanophysics researcher at Harvard University, said he is running in the special election for the open congressional seat formerly held by Edward J. Markey in the heavily Democratic Fifth Congressional District.

Stopa, 58, said he understands the uphill climb he faces as a member of the GOP in a district that tilts to the other party. But, he said in a telephone interview today, “Massachusetts has been a one-party state for a little too long.”

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Stopa said even though he is “a conservative,” he believes he would be a good fit to represent the seat that Markey vacated to become a senator.

“This district, in particular, is very high technology. I’m thinking that somebody who is technically savvy and a physicist,” he said, “would be a good person to represent it.”

Stopa said he suspects that he is the only Republican who would have support in both Holliston and Harvard Square, though he admitted that his base in Cambridge, a liberal enclave, would be quite small.

The nanophysics researcher has made a previous run for Congress: He lost the race for the 2010 GOP nomination to take on US Representative James P. McGovern. Under the most recent round of congressional redistricting, Holliston was moved to the Fifth Congressional District.

Stopa said he expected to file the official paperwork necessary for this year’s run in the coming weeks.

Other Republicans have expressed interest in the seat but none were registered with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.

Five Democrats — three state senators, a state representative, and a county sheriff — are jockeying for their party’s nomination in the special election for the seat.

The Democratic and Republican primaries are set for Oct. 15, with a Dec. 10 general election.

To get on the primary ballot, candidates must collect at least 2,000 signatures of registered voters in the district by July 31. Those signatures must be certified by local municipalities and submitted to Secretary of State William F. Galvin by Aug. 14.

The Fifth Congressional District voted 65 percent for President Obama in 2012. Whoever the Republican nominee is will be an underdog in the district that includes a wide swath of suburbs north and west of Boston.

“It is an uphill battle, I don’t doubt it,” Stopa said.

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