U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch lost the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate to U.S. Rep. Edward Markey on Tuesday. After falling ill and canceling events on the final day of his campaign, Lynch summoned his voice to deliver his concession speech at a function hall in Dedham.
“Although we didn’t get the outcome we hoped for, we did stand up for working men and women throughout this state,” Lynch said.
Lynch – a onetime ironworker, who emphasizes his blue-collar roots, encouraged his supporters to unite against the Republican nominee, Gabriel Gomez. He also pledged his support for his opponent, now the Democratic nominee, Edward Markey.
"We are a party of working families, of seniors, of veterans, those looking for work and workplace protections," he said. "And Ed Markey will be a champion for a champion for all of us in the U.S. Senate.”
Lynch has run successful campaigns in the past – defeating William Bulger Jr. in 1996, and in another special election in 2001, to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Joseph Moakley. This time, it had seemed Lynch's best hope was in conservative-leaning Democrats, independents and labor groups.
“Stephen Lynch is the union guy," said Scott Ferson, a senior adviser to Lynch. "He’s a card-carrying member of a union. But two years ago a union, a very large union, SEIU, ran a candidate against him because of his vote on healthcare. So we always knew there would be a split between unions. He’s the founder of a charter school. We knew the teacher’s union wouldn’t be with him."
Lynch is considered the most conservative of the state's currently all-Democratic congressional delegation. His votes against President Obama's health care overhaul upset many in the party. But he did have the support of the nurses', fire fighters' and steelworkers' unions.
But in the Senate campaign, Lynch struggled to gain name recognition outside of Boston. Poll results show he received most of his support in and around South Boston. And it's been a difficult time for Bostonians personally, notes Peter Ubertaccio, a political analyst at Stonehill College.
"Things have changed incredibly over the past two, three weeks given the terrorist attack," Ubertaccio said. "It’s really made this race far less visible. And I think we’re seeing that in the very low turnout. Generally speaking, frontrunners or incumbents do well when there’s low turnout."
Ubertaccio watched in the back of the audience as Lynch said he will return to Washington to "continue to work on behalf of the American labor movement."