Mass. Senate race challenges Kerry

by Beacon Staff • October 29, 2008

Massachusetts might be a foregone conclusion for Barack Obama, but another Democratic junior senator will be fighting for his seat on Nov. 4.

Republican newcomer Jeff Beatty will attempt to unseat long-time Democratic U.S. Senator John F. Kerry, whose career was highlighted four years ago in 2004 during his unsuccessful bid for the presidency.

Kerry, running for his fifth term, and, Beatty, who is attempting his first, discussed the war in Iraq and the economy among other issues in a televised debate on the New England Cable Network on Oct. 20.

The two came together for another debate on Oct. 27 which was broadcast on the radio channel 96.9 FM.

"I am running for re-election to the US Senate because I'm more fired up than I've ever been to keep fighting for and delivering for Massachusetts," Kerry said in an official statement. "We are on the verge of getting big things done."

"I have fought and won," Kerry said about his recent accomplishments, including obtaining emergency assistance for fishermen and grants for fire and police departments. "I want to keep fighting."

Kerry, who lives on Beacon Hill, just steps from the State House and the Emerson campus, was first challenged this year in a Democratic primary race by Edward O'Reilly, a lawyer and firefighter from Gloucester. Kerry won the contest with 69 percent of the vote.

Kerry is against ballot question 1, which, if passed, would eliminate Massachusetts' income tax. He also voted for the $700 billion bailout package.

Kerry has advocated setting a deadline for the war in Iraq and the protection of the environment, according to his campaign Web site.

Kerry officially endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in January and campaigned for him this month in New Hampshire.

"Come November, we'll have an increased Democratic majority in Congress and a Democrat finally in the Oval Office," Kerry said in his official statement, referring to Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama.

"Working together with my colleague Sen. [Ted] Kennedy, we will continue to be the one-two punch Massachusetts needs in the Senate," he said.

Beatty is the founder of TotalSecurity.US, a homeland security consulting company, from which he has departed to concentrate on his senatorial campaign. He also supports the elimination of the Massachusetts' state income tax.

"We'll be able to find other ways to make sure essential programs go forward," said Beatty during the televised debate on Oct. 20.

Beatty has been critical of the bailout passed by the Senate, for which Kerry voted. "You [supported the bailout] just so you can get past the election so you can go out and campaign with Barack Obama just to be secretary of state," Beatty said during the debate, accusing the senator of hoping for a potential appointment in an Obama administration.

Some of Beatty's goals if elected are to reduce spending, invest more in education and set clear goals for the war in Iraq, according to his campaign Web site.

A poll on the senatorial race was released on Oct. 15 by Rasmussen Reports, a polling firm, which showed Kerry leading, pulling 63 percent of respondents and Beatty trailing at 31 percent.

Emerson student Caitlin Malcuit said she hadn't seen much local election coverage, but has already sent her ballot in with a vote for John Kerry. The sophomore film major from Massachusetts said one of the primary reasons Kerry got her vote was his experience. "He and Ted Kennedy work together well," Malcuit said. She also has admired his work for health care in Massachusetts, especially getting health care for children.

She has been grateful to not be bombarded by TV ads for the Kerry campaign like the infamous commercials for New Hampshire senatorial candidates John Sununu and Jeanne Shaheen. "[The campaign] has been subtle," Malcuit said. "He doesn't beat us over the head with it."

Fellow Emerson student Jerilyn Novia is also planning to vote for Kerry. However, the broadcast journalism major, another Massachusetts native, felt the opposite about his campaign management. "I think he could afford to be more outgoing in his campaign," she said.

She thinks that while the majority of Emerson students follow the presidential race, not everyone is knowledgable about the race for Massachusetts senator. "If [Emerson students] are from out of state, they're not as aware as they could be," Novia said.