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Markey Courts Online Progressives In Senate Bid

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 28 2013

Long-time House Democrat Edward J. Markey spent Thursday morning courting online progressives, re-assuring them of his bona fides in a conference call, and saying that he's not taking anything for granted in his run to succeed John Kerry in the Senate.

Markey spent 45 minutes chatting with members of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee Thursday morning, outlining his positions on key issues for Democrats. Those include his positions on telecommunications policy (he's for net neutrality,) abortion (he's pro-choice,) the development of the Keystone Pipeline (he's against it,) and healthcare (he's for single-payer,) and gun control (he supports Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif.'s effort to ban assault weapons.)

Markey is running in a primary against fellow Massachusetts Democratic House Member Stephen Lynch, who differs from Markey on energy policy, among other issues. Lynch supports the development of the Keystone Pipeline, for example.

Massachusetts is holding its primary on April 30. The general election against the Republicans' candidate takes place June 25.

Markey reassured those on the line that he's not taking anything for granted, even though the polls show him leading Lynch. To that end, he told PCCC members that he's growing a strong grassroots campaign being run by Carl Nilsson, President Obama’s former campaign field director in Massachusetts.

"We're continuing it with the same field people, same organization to make sure that we identify our progressive vote, and we get it out," he said. "People aren't used to voting on April 30 in Massachusetts, so this is a massive effort that we're putting on."

A longtime member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Markey has been a vocal advocate for consumers and individual citizens on most technology and telecommunications issues. Asked during the call who he supports for the next chairmanship of the Federal Communications Commission in light of a recent senate letter to Obama asking him to pick current FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Markey said he hasn't endorsed anyone yet. He said that whoever does eventually take the seat should support an open Internet and net neutrality.

PCCC hasn't officially endorsed Markey yet, although PCCC co-founder Adam Green has said that Markey is the "more progressive" of the two candidates running in the primary.

Other outside groups that have already endorsed Markey include; NARAL; Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Planned Parenthood. Kerry, who's now Secretary of State, endorsed Markey in June.