Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., tonight weathered an 11th-hour surge of super PAC attacks to win the special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, buoyed by his own massive campaign war chest and deep-pocketed backers.
Allies of Republican Gabriel Gomez spent more than $1.5 million on advertisements since June 13, many of them highly critical of Markey, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of filings submitted to the Federal Election Commission through Monday.
One ad accused Markey of learning to "distort" facts as he served 37 years in Congress.
Another hit Markey for voting to let the Internal Revenue Service play a role in the enforcement of health care reform. (The agency is tasked with penalizing employers that do not offer affordable coverage and individuals who do not have health insurance, as well as discerning who qualifies for subsidies, among other duties.)
But the GOP spending spree proved to be too little, too late for the former Navy SEAL-turned-Senate candidate.
During the race, Markey raised roughly twice as much money as Gomez. And his supporters spent roughly $2.40 on independent expenditures for every $1 that pro-Gomez groups spent since the general election began on May 1, the Center’s analysis indicates.
The pro-Markey forces included the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Senate Majority PAC super PAC, the League of Conservation Voters and several unions, as the Center previously reported.
In all, such groups reported spending about $3.8 million on Markey's behalf.
Super PAC ads accused Gomez of being "not someone we can trust" in Washington, and ads criticized him for being open to raising the retirement age and supporting tax breaks for millionaires, despite pledging to be a "different kind of Republican."
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, Markey has served 20 terms in Congress.
In 2009, he notably introduced legislation with Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., that would have implemented a cap-and-trade program to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The special election in Massachusetts was conducted to fill the vacancy created when President Barack Obama tapped Democratic Sen. John Kerry to serve as the secretary of state.