By Anoushka Dalmia
BU News Service
BOSTON – Sen. Ed Markey secured an effortless re-election over Republican candidate Kevin O’Connor in the U.S. senate race Tuesday.
With about half the number of ballots counted, he leads with 65.9% of the votes over O’Connor’s 33.4%, according to the New York Times at the time of publication.
“I stand before you this evening grateful to the voters of Massachusetts for the confidence that they have placed in me,” said Markey in his victory speech as he assured Massachusetts voters that he’d fight every day to make them proud of a vote for him.
Unlike Gov. Charlie Baker, Markey’s challenger O’Connor stood by President Donald Trump, a point of contention in the race. Markey thanked O’Connor for a civil, spirited campaign.
“Our democracy is stronger because of the conversation that took place throughout the general election,” he said.
Markey remained confident of a win for former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris in the presidential election.
“It will be a historic victory for Democrats, for women, for immigrants, for young people, for the LGBTQ community, for people of color, for the United States of America, for our future,” he said.
After thanking his wife for her support and his team for their work, Markey spoke directly to the “Markeyverse.”
“In each of you, I saw myself – passionate disruptors and change-makers, unrelenting optimists, ice-cream aficionados,” he said. “I know you will never let anyone tell you where to stand.”
Calling his campaign a grassroots movement of progressive ideals and diverse voices, Markey said young organizers demanding change led this charge. He praised their resilience and tireless organizing within the existing system of laws, stressing that they deserve economic and climate justice.
“We must use science to beat the virus and move our country from peril to progress,” Markey said. “In the face of the existential climate crisis, our elected leaders [must] listen to the young people demanding change, trust them to lead the way and pass a Green New Deal.”
Markey attracted renewed national attention after he and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, announced the Green New Deal, a set of proposals tackling climate change and economic and social inequality in February of 2019. The deal has faced criticism for being socialist, but Markey said it’s not about pushing to the left.
“It’s about pushing for what’s right,” he said. “The Green New Deal is more than a pathway to clean energy jobs, it is a pathway to justice.”
Placing further emphasis on the need for climate reform, Markey called it a matter of life and death.
“There will be no peace or justice, and no prosperity unless we stop the march to climate destruction,” he said. “The time to be timid is over.”
He spoke in favor of ranked-choice voting at a polling station earlier Tuesday, saying it puts the “D in Democracy.”
“It’s going to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard and that ultimately, the candidate that is most preferred by voters is the one that wins each election in the state,” he said.
His nomination against Rep. Joe Kennedy III in September marked the first time a Kennedy lost a Massachusetts election, making it a significant victory for the progressive wing of the Democratic party.
In light of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s recent Supreme Court nomination, Markey vowed in his evening speech to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, expansion of the Supreme Court, workers rights, collective bargaining and retirement security.
“Black lives matter,” he stated emphatically, promising to fight for racial justice and address rampant discrimination, “There is an invisible contract that you sign at birth, a promise. Every hour we work means longer days of freedom and security. When you break the sacred contract, the people make a revolution. That revolution is happening at the polls today.”
Talking of his own background, the Malden native said his campaign organized for essential workers and working families, like his mother and father, “who sat around the kitchen table struggling to pay the bills.”
Rejecting the idea of returning to the so-called-normal, he ended his speech with a call for transformational change.
“We will not take the easy way out, or find the middle ground,” he said. “We will think bigger, act bolder and be braver. I have never been more hopeful about the future of our country.”