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Keller @ Large: Candidates Set Expectations For Upcoming GOP Debate

By Jon Keller, WBZ-TV Political Editor
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BOSTON (CBS) – There’s now less than a month to go until primary voters nominate candidates for the U.S. Senate seat here in Massachusetts.

Next week, the race heats up with the first of two televised debates co-sponsored by WBZ-TV and the Boston Globe.

After speaking Friday with all three candidates, I think they are ready to highlight their differences and hone their pitch to voters who now may just be starting to focus on the second special U.S. Senate election here in the past three years.

To former state rep., District Attorney, and US Attorney Michael Sullivan, next week’s debate is a chance to cement what close followers of the race believe is his frontrunner status by focusing on his experience.

“I have a record that people can look at and say this is a person I may not agree on with every single issue, but he’s got experience that’s directly related. Plus, I can trust him,” Sullivan said.

Investment manager Gabriel Gomez predicts voters will see sharp differences.

“People don’t want to see career politicians bicker back and forth,” Gomez said. “I think the most striking contrast will be that there’s only going to be one of us up there who’s never been a career politician.”

State Rep. Dan Winslow, who noted he has served one term as a State Rep. sees the debate as a demonstration of electability.

“Voters can see that there’s a real contrast, not just in our positions but in what kind of capability we have for June; and who’s the best candidate to win in June,” Winslow said.

So far these three have circled each other cautiously, throwing only occasional jabs. But with primary day less than three weeks away, by the time they meet Wednesday night that could change.

And of course, twelve days after the Republicans go at it, the democrats will meet in their final debate.

That race between Congressmen Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey is really starting to grow some fur, with Lynch casting Markey as a Washington, D.C. insider and Markey criticizing lynch for voting against the president’s healthcare reforms.

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