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Sciortino prods rivals in congressional race to oppose Syria military action

Posted by Your Town  September 9, 2013 07:26 PM

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State Representative Carl M. Sciortino, one of seven Democrats vying to succeed Edward J. Markey in the US House of Representatives, today pressed his opponents in the Fifth Congressional District to oppose the authorization of military action against Syria.

“I am challenging all of my opponents in the Fifth to join me in calling for a no vote on military intervention in Syria. I’m asking all of them to stop waffling,” he said in a campaign conference call this morning, pushing instead for a “political solution through forceful diplomacy.”

After the call, three of the other Democratic candidates who had not previously staked out a firm position on the issue — Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, state Senator Katherine Clark, and state Senator Will Brownsberger — came out against the Congressional resolution that would authorize the President to use military force in Syria.

-In a statement Koutoujian said he does “not support the resolution before Congress at this time.” He cited reservations with the US acting without more international support as well as the potential for “unforeseen consequences of a strike in that region.”

-Clark said in a statement she does not “think the case has been made that U.S. military action is the best way to move forward, and if the vote were held today I would vote no.”

-In a statement, Brownsberger said: “...I have concluded that, were I already seated in Congress, I would vote against the present resolution authorizing bombing of Syria.”

Sciortino, who has vigorously attempted to position himself to the left of his opponents, was joined on the call by US Representative Alan Grayson, Democrat of Florida, who has endorsed Sciortino and has been an early and vocal opponent of authorizing military action.

Sciortino said told the Globe last week if he were in Congress he would vote against authorizing President Obama to use military force in Syria.

Two other Democratic candidates, author Martin Long and Paul John Maisano, who works in the construction industry, have previously said they are opposed to the authorization. Both said today they continue to be in the “no” column.

State Senator Karen Spilka, was the only Democrat in the race who did not take a firm position on the issue, but said in a statement that she is “extremely skeptical of any military action.”

Obama, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and top Congressional leaders continue to make the case for a strike after the alleged use of chemical weapons by the forces of Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

The president is set to speak to the nation about Syria in a televised address on Tuesday.

But Grayson said, there was no need for anyone to wait for Obama’s big speech to make up their mind on the issue.

“There is a universal understanding among the members of Congress regarding the president’s position and I think that’s true among members of the public as well,” he said.

The Fifth Congressional District, which runs from Winthrop to Woburn to Southborough to Holliston, is heavily Democratic, so the party’s nominee will be the favorite to win. There are also three Republicans vying for the GOP’s nod in the district: Harvard nanophysics researcher Mike Stopa of Holliston; businessman and attorney Frank J. Addivinola Jr. of Boston; and actuary Tom Tierney of Framingham.

The special primary election is set for Oct. 15 with a Dec. 10 special general election.

The district became open after Markey won the US Senate seat that was vacated by Kerry when he became secretary of state.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos. This post also appeared in the Political Intelligence blog.

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