Senate debate at UMass Lowell

UMass Lowell continued to cement its reputation as a center of political activity in Massachusetts last evening with a debate between US Senate candidates Steve Lynch and Ed Markey at Durgin Hall (the three Republican candidates had been invited but chose not to participate). While the debate was not broadcast live on TV, it was streamed live on the Boston Herald’s website (the paper and UML frequently team up on political events like this). In the photo above, UMass Lowell Marty Meehan, a former Congressional colleague of both candidates, welcomes the crowd to UML. To the far left, is moderator Jaclyn Cashman. To the immediate left of Meehan sits Steve Lynch while Ed Markey is to his right. Out of the picture frame (and sorry for the fuzzy picture but the theater lighting confused my phone’s camera) sat three UML students, Corey Lanier of Lowell, Maria Cristina Garvin of Acton, and John Asagba of Ghana. The format consisted of a question from a student to one of the candidates who had one minute to respond followed by a rebuttal from the other candidate. Questions submitted through Twitter were also asked by the moderator who sometimes used her prerogative to ask follow-up questions.

Questions touched on the Affordable Care Act, reproductive rights, the affordability of college, opportunities for bipartisan action, and the “people’s pledge” about keeping outside money out of the race. Both candidates did well and things never got heated or dramatic. I’ve supported Ed Markey since the start of this race so I’m biased, but I did think his overall delivery was smoother and more consistent. Lynch gave some excellent answers but he seemed to struggle with a few of the questions.

The primary election is just three weeks from today on April 30. My guess is the turnout will be very low. Because I’ve been involved with the Markey campaign from the start, I have some insight into the strategy being employed. For Lynch, I can only discern what any other interested observer can see. I do think that two very different strategies are being employed and so the outcome of the race here in Greater Lowell might have some influence on the opinions local political activists will hold on what works better. As anyone driving around can see, the Lynch campaign has many yard signs up creating a great deal of visibility. In contrast, the Markey campaign has devoted its volunteers and resources to door-to-door canvassing (Markey is not using lawn signs). While there are certainly other factors that will effect this low-turnout race, the two distinct local campaign styles will invite comparisons after April 30.

Steve Lynch and Ed Markey at UML debate

5 Responses to Senate debate at UMass Lowell

  1. Joe80s says:

    Unfortunately Massachusetts democrats will march blindly to the beat of the radical left and support Markey. Very sad. Lynch is an old school dem that truly represents the average worker. This blog, in particular, should be extensively covering both campaigns. “…Lowell continued to cement it’s reputation as being a center of political activity in Massachusetts…” but not here. Markey has a strategy and we will obey his wishes like good zombies.
    Just another example that bipartisanship is completely dead in the ruling party of this state. Us guys in the middle are once again abandoned. I will proudly hold a sign for the TRUE democrat in this race, Steve Lynch.

  2. DickH says:

    Joe, you certainly have plenty in this region who share your sentiments, but there’s also a lot of us who, as Howard Dean put it, represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

  3. Joe80s says:

    How can one with such great knowledge and understanding of Lowell history reference Howard Dean? The history, arts and culture highlighted on this site are a wonderful change to most blogs. The blind support of the far left is mind boggling.

  4. Jerry Bisantz says:

    Comment on the debate: first of all , thanks to Paul Marion, Rick Sherburne, U Mass Lowell, all the folks out there who worked their asses off to get the debate here in our city. Ok, that’s the good news: here’s the bad news!
    What a waste of 45 minutes time! OMG!
    OK, maybe it was a cool idea to have college students ask questions, but, come on… 20 minutes on abortion and gay marriage???
    Earth to students: these are both Democrats! OF COURSE they support Roe v Wade and gay marriage. can we please move on?
    What about our economy? What about Medicare, social security, entitlements that are out of control with an aging baby boomer population?
    How about talking about, uh… I don’t know.. terrorism, the Coptic Christians being murdered in Egypt after we sent Egypt more fighter jets?
    How about talking about climate change?
    How about talking about the over medication of our children?
    How about talking about gun violence?
    How about talking about raising taxes in a down economy?
    Violence on television?
    North korea?
    The so called “Arab Spring” and those trusted Muslim Brotherhood folks who everybody said were really harmless
    No, we have to talk about gay marriage
    Look, I know that college kids are very idealistic and want to talk about matters that matter to them But, we only had those two guys for 45 minutes. It really seems to me that too much time was wasted on items that should be far down the list of the most important things affecting America today.
    Markey was slick as all hell, Lynch tried to be the “Southie” everyman. It would have been nice to see them really tested.
    OK, that’s my opinion. But, of course, I am not n opinionated guy! Hah!
    What’s yours?

  5. Steve says:


    I thought the same thing. I rushed home, turned it on, heard ten minutes of abortion and gay marriage which I already heard in the first debate, and turned it off. Anyone who takes an interest already knows the candidates’ positions on these issues. Can we talk about jobs?