Sullivan launches Senate campaign at Abington VFW post

Mike Sullivan, a former US attorney, greeted some of his younger supporters Saturday in Abington.
George Rizer for The Boston Globe
Mike Sullivan, a former US attorney, greeted some of his younger supporters Saturday in Abington.

Former US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan officially launched his campaign for the US Senate seat recently vacated by John F. Kerry Saturday at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in his hometown of Abington.

Sullivan, a Republican, said in a transcript of his speech that his experience as a prosecutor was “good training for a political campaign” and offered implied criticism of other candidates in the race.

“The men and women of Massachusetts know a lot is riding on this special election,” Sullivan said. “They don’t appreciate having their votes taken for granted, by the same old candidates or by new ones. They expect candidates to earn their vote with serious ideas and straightforward talk — with facts instead of just more rhetoric.”

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Sullivan, 58, will compete against Republicans Gabriel E. Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, and state Representative Daniel B. Winslow in the April 30 primary. US Representatives Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey will face off for the Democratic nomination.

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On Saturday, he spoke of the nation’s long-stagnant economy and the need for more jobs, especially for young people who, he said “don’t even know what real opportunity looks like.”

He said high taxes and new federal regulations are “hostile to growth” and recent budget cuts aren’t doing enough to close the federal deficit.

“In the best bipartisan tradition of this Commonwealth, I will cast the hard votes to protect the United States from a debt crisis,” he said.

Even before the official announcement, the campaign hit its first hurdle Wednesday, when the state Democratic Party attacked Sullivan over interviews in which he voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage.

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Sullivan softened his position later that day in a statement saying he supported the reversal of the Defense of Marriage Act barring federal recognition of same-sex unions. The other four candidates all support same-sex marriage.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.