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Sciortino launches bid for Markey US House seat, part of large field of contenders

State Representative Carl M. Sciortino today kicked off his campaign for the congressional seat set to be vacated by Senator-elect Edward J. Markey.

The Medford Democrat, who filed paperwork for his run at the beginning of the year, is part of an already crowded field of local elected officials aiming to succeed Markey in the US House of Representatives district that runs from Revere to Framingham and Holliston.

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State Senators Will Brownsberger of Belmont, Katherine Clark of Melrose, Karen Spilka of Ashland and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian of Waltham, all Democrats, also filed paperwork to run for the Fifth Congressional District seat before Markey’s victory Tuesday night.

Clark issued a press release today congratulating Markey on his victory and saying she would run to ensure that “there continues to be a strong, progressive voice in this seat.”

Sciortino, a 34-year-old Medford Democrat in his fifth term, ticked through issues he said he had led on during his State House tenure, from abortion rights to workers’ rights to “equality for women and LGBT people.” In his speech, he positioned himself to the left of his opponents.

“I am proud to have a consistent progressive record of leadership,” he said in a press conference at the base of the State House steps with about 25 sign-wielding supporters standing behind him. “No other candidate in this race can say that.”

Sciortino, who is openly gay, also lauded today’s Supreme Court decision ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

“The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples cannot be denied rights by the federal government. We are fully equal and DOMA is dead!” he said to cheers.

Briefly choking up, he acknowledged his fiance, Pem Brown, in the crowd, whom he is set to marry in October.

Sciortino first ran to be his district’s state representative in 2004, when he was 25. Running against an incumbent who supported a ban on legal gay marriage in a race that pivoted on that issue, Sciortino won the Democratic primary. He beat then-state Representative Vincent P. Ciampa by a narrow margin and cruised to a general election victory. He has been reelected ever since.

The date of the special election to fill the remainder of the Markey’s term will be set after he steps down to become US senator. The election is expected to take place in the fall.

The Fifth District is heavily Democratic so the winner of the primary is likely to win the seat.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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