The Democratic Senate hopefuls meet Monday night at 7:00 p.m. in their first debate after last week’s Boston Marathon bombings. Representative Edward J. Markey and Representative Stephen F. Lynch are set to go toe-to-toe at WBZ-TV studios in Allston in a debate sponsored by WBZ-TV and The Boston Globe. The debate will be anchored by Jon Keller of WBZ-TV, with Globe Political Editor Cynthia Needham also asking questions of the candidates.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face either private equity investor and former Navy SEAL Gabriel E. Gomez, former US attorney Michael J. Sullivan, or state Representative Daniel B. Winslow.
Both the Democratic and Republican primaries are scheduled for April 30. The general election is set for June 25.
7:57 p.m.: And that’s a wrap. Markey and Lynch are set to soon meet the press.
7:54 p.m.: The conversation turns to abortion. Lynch notes Markey has changed his position, while Markey cites his long voting record in favor abortion rights and the fact that NARAL has endorsed him.
7:48 p.m.: Markey cites his vote in favor President Obama’s health care law and Lynch’s vote against as a big difference between the competitors. Lynch makes the contrast by saying, “Ed is policy guy and I’m a people guy.”
7:38 p.m.: A fired-up Lynch goes after Markey again, this time on votes on the 2008 bank bailout, NAFTA, fishing and one of Markey’s marquee pieces of legislation, The Telecommunications Act of 1996. “The truth of the matter is, Ed has been on the side of big business,” Lynch says.
Markey defends himself, staying cool. He says he voted for bank bailout with Barack Obama, “when the threat was the sytem was going to collapse.” And he defends his 1996 legislation as fostering increased competition and creating lots of jobs.
In what is, perhaps, the line of the evening, Lynch attacks Markey saying, “I’m with the fisherman, you’re with the fish.”
Later, Markey retorts, that Lynch is “putting so many red herrings out here” an aquarium is needed.
7:31 p.m.: The discussion turns to gun control. Lynch reiterates his support of the gun control legislation that fell short of passage in the Senate last week and he mentions his cousin Brian, who was killed by gun violence. Markey talks about helping stop the importation of certain types of Chinese guns in the 1990s, a topic of one of his television ads.
“Many revolutions have started here, included the first one,” Markey says, adding that he hopes a revolution changing the gun debate will begin in Massachusetts.
7:28 p.m.: Lynch mentions gun violence in urban areas of Boston and says there is “terrorism of a different kind, of a domestic kind going out there and it’s called crime.” Markey speaks briefly about working toward making the National Rifle Association irrelevant.
7:23 p.m.: The next question is about whether the number of CCTV cameras should be increased in the Boston area in the wake of Monday’s attack. “After 9/11, we had to make adjustments,” Markey says. “Here, while I am the chairman and founder of the Privacy Caucus in Congress, I do believe it is now time for us to consider more surveillance cameras.”
Lynch says he would be “very cautious” in adding surveillance cameras, but admits that, “appropriately used,” more cameras could be “helpful.”
7:18 p.m.: The debate turns to FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is the underlying law outlining what and how surveillance of foreigners can be conducted by authorities. Lynch says, “I do believe in a system that has judicial oversight.” Markey discusses what he saw as the overreaches in surveillance by authorities during the administration of President George W. Bush.
7:15 p.m.: Asked about the choice of venue for the trial of the Marathon bombing suspect, Markey says he supports whatever decision the Department of Justice makes. “I believe that President Obama and his Justice Department are completely committed to ensuring that justice is done in this case,” Markey says. Lynch says he thinks federal laws are sufficient for the prosecution of the suspect.
7:13 p.m.: Lynch continues to knock Markey on a port security bill, where their votes differed.
7:09 p.m.: Lynch goes on the attack against Markey’s homeland security votes again and the ensuing back-and-forth is perhaps the most fiery of the Democratic primary campaign so far. Lynch hammers on a port security bill, which Lynch voted for and Markey voted against.
7:06 p.m.: The first question goes to Lynch and it is about what changes he would pursue to make us safer. Lynch says he would continue to what he has done and notes the “differences” in voting records between himself and Markey on homeland security. Lynch says he voted for the Joint Terrorism Taskforce, while Markey voted against it. Markey responds by noting he served on the Homeland Security Committee for seven years and ticks through a number of pieces of national security legislation he has authored.
6:59 p.m.: Markey and Lynch have taken their places in the studio and the debate is about to begin.
6:41 p.m.: The debate will begin in about 20 minutes. Eight days before primary voters hit the polls, Lynch is widely considered to be the underdog in the two-man race. One key metric in any modern political contest is money. On April 10, the most recent date for which figures are available, Lynch’s campaign had $514,000 in the bank while Markey’s campaign had $4.6 million in cash on hand.
5:45 p.m.: About 180 sign-wielding Lynch supporters are standing outside the WBZ studios. Those holding Markey signs number about 23. The debate begins at 7:00 p.m.