Typically, the view of party leaders is that primaries are best avoided. Better to coalesce around a consensus candidate early, help that candidate amass a mighty bankroll, and focus the attention of volunteers, activists and other stakeholders on the general election. But that is not the prevailing attitude among Massachusetts Democrats as they face the state’s third Senate in three years.
John Kerry’s confirmation as secretary of state will come either Tuesday or Wednesday, but it’s such a formality that the Massachusetts secretary of state has already gone ahead and scheduled the special election to replace him, with primaries in April and the final vote on June 25. Right now, there’s only one declared candidate from either party: Ed Markey, a Democratic congressman from outside Boston. But Democrats are convinced that Scott Brown, the Republican who won a January 2010 special election only to lose to Elizabeth Warren last fall, is going to jump in the race – and because of that, they are hoping that a second Democrat will also enter the fray to battle Markey in a primary.