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Jeff Semon, Tom Tierney, and Frank J. Addivinola Jr. are competing for one of the toughest jobs in Massachusetts politics: running against 36-year incumbent Edward J. Markey, the state’s most senior congressman, who has never received less than 60 percent of the vote and often draws no opponent in his district north and west of Boston.

Incumbents escape much-needed scrutiny when they run unopposed, and all three GOP candidates are doing a public service by seeking a place on the ballot. Of the choices, Semon is the best candidate to challenge Markey in November, and deserves the party’s nomination in the Thursday, Sept. 6, primary.

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A Lexington native and financial data consultant, Semon is well-versed on the issues. His views on taxes and health care depart little from most Republicans, but on gay marriage he says he opposes the federal Defense of Marriage Act and he emphasizes the need to reform entitlement programs in a responsible way. On foreign policy, Semon says he would support using more non-military options against Iran before he would vote to authorize force.

Of the others in the field, Tom Tierney is a perennial candidate who has demonstrated little political support. Addivinola, a Boston lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2010, gathered his own signatures to get on the primary ballot and cites his desire to make sure Markey faces an opponent as one of his primary motivations for getting into the race. But he lacks Semon’s clear enthusiasm to tackle policy issues.

Markey, for his part, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.