Senator-elect Edward J. Markey will land in Washington with less fanfare than any Massachusetts senator elected in recent memory, a 1970s holdover who triumphed in a sleepy election with an outcome that seemed foregone nearly from the start.
Even Markey’s comfortable victory margin over Republican nominee Gabriel E. Gomez will not fashion him a celebrity senator, in the mold of first Scott Brown and then Elizabeth Warren, who came to Washington with national profiles. Nor does he spark talk about someday running for national office, the way Brown and Warren, and their predecessors, did.
Instead, Markey is likely to operate in the Senate as he has for years in the House, focused on policy and without the marquee name recognition that Massachusetts senators have long had.
Further, Markey will arrive in a Senate deeply ossified and largely dysfunctional, in part because of the way the body has changed in recent years and in part because any bill approved by the Senate must clear the House, which is even more limited in its ability to advance legislation. A comprehensive immigration bill cleared an important test vote in the Senate Monday, but faces an uncertain fate in the House.
For the Malden Democrat, who has carved out a profile as a policy wonk during his 37 years in the House, there are opportunities and warning signs. In policy areas where major debate is expected in the coming years, such as telecommunications and energy, Markey has distinguished himself as a go-to member in the House, a role he could reprise in the Senate. Congress will probably grapple with how to distribute broadband spectrum and how to manage the nation’s burgeoning natural gas and clean energy industries.
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