ED MARKEY’S ascension to the Senate, after 37 years in the House, was a businesslike transaction: Massachusetts needed a veteran to take the place of John Kerry, and Markey fit the bill. His victory was a choice of liberal over moderate and known over unknown, but voters also — and most crucially — picked a proven advocate over a charismatic newcomer who could promise everything but clout. That’s what Markey, a freshman senator on the cusp of his 67th birthday, must provide in order to validate the voters’ faith in him.
The good news for Markey, who won a low-turnout election by a solid but not spectacular margin, is that he’ll now be judged by his performance in office, rather than the campaign trail. But that doesn’t mean he won’t face significant challenges, especially with the need to stand for re-election in just a year and a half, when Kerry’s term expires.