The Democratic candidates for US Senate resumed television advertising Tuesday after a week’s silence observed out of deference to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
US Representative Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston launched a television ad focused on the tragedy and avoiding any mention of the campaign, except for required language approving the ad’s message.
“My heart goes out to those affected by this unthinkable terrorist attack,” he says, speaking directly to the camera. “I want to thank those whose actions saved lives and the police whose heroic efforts brought it all to an end.”
“In the face of this tragedy, our city and state offered a stunning example of the strength of the human spirit,” Lynch adds. “We hold in our hearts those we lost, but we will get through this together and work toward a brighter day.”
His opponent in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for US Senate, US Representative Edward J. Markey of Malden, also resumed television advertising Tuesday. His campaign resumed use of an ad focusing on women’s issues, saying he cosponsored an equal pay for equal work measure, helped force insurance companies to cover mammograms, and has a strong record of supporting abortion rights.
Democratic campaign activity had been suspended after the transformative events of Marathon Monday, when three people were killed and 264 injured in a terrorist attack along the Marathon route. The Democrats resumed debates Monday and Tuesday.
Republicans have been accusing Democrats of using the Marathon tragedy for political gain, citing a letter sent by the Democratic National Committee aiming to thank Boston emergency responders. Those who signed the letter could then be tapped for Democratic solicitations of donations and support, Republicans charged.
The Massachusetts Republican Party has unsuccessfully pushed Markey to renounce the DNC letter, and its spokesman seized upon Lynch’s ad Tuesday, suggesting both Democrats are going too far.
“With Ed Markey refusing to denounce his party’s use of the Marathon tragedy for political gain and Lynch’s latest ad, it is clear these career politicians have either lost touch with Massachusetts or are willing to sink to new lows for a promotion,” MassGOP spokesman Tim Buckley said.
The Democratic candidates are elected officials who were often among those regularly appearing at televised press conferences following the attack. Lynch knows the Dorchester family hard hit by the tragedy; Lynch’s wife worked with Denise Richard, who with her daughter was hurt in the blast and whose son, Martin, was killed.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives swiftly beat back a proposal Tuesday to reinstate the death penalty in Massachusetts that was proposed as an amendment to the state budget now being debated on Beacon Hill.
Representative James R. Miceli, a Wilmington Democrat, had filed the death penalty amendment before the bombing at the Boston Marathon. However, he cited the events of last week as showing the need for heightened protections for law enforcement personnel.
“All of those police who responded did an outstanding job, and they deserve every bit of support,” Miceli said on the House floor.
But Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty, a Chelsea Democrat, called for an alternative amendment that would leave the death penalty bill to the Judiciary Committee, which is due to consider it.
He also called for a full study of the legislation’s impact on the judicial system and cost before it could go into effect. O’Flaherty’s amendment overwhelmingly prevailed in the House.
“We can have a discussion about this at a later time,” said O’Flaherty. “In the context of this budget, when we’re debating the fiscal machinery and how it operates in this state, I don’t think it’s necessarily . . . appropriate.”
Lawmakers had tried to seize on the emotion surrounding last week’s Marathon attacks.
Federal charges brought Monday against the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, cover only the Marathon bombings, not the confrontations with police. While state officials could bring additional charges for the shooting death of MIT police Officer Sean Collier and the shooting of MBTA Officer Richard Donohue Jr., state charges would not carry a potential death penalty.
Miceli’s amendment would have created a death penalty for those with at least two prior state and federal convictions who murder a police officer, special police officer, parole or probation officer, court officer, sheriff’s department employees, or corrections officer. It also called for the death penalty in cases of terrorism, killing sprees, or torture.
State Representative Daniel B. Winslow, one of three Republicans running for the special election to US Senate, had helped to draft the bill when he was legal counsel in former governor Mitt Romney’s administration.