Post-bombing, Mass. Senate candidates spar over national security

Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Stephen F. Lynch, left, and Edward J. Markey, debate at WBZ studios in Boston, Monday, April 22, 2013.
Pool, Barry Chin,AP Photo/Boston Globe

A week after the Boston Marathon bombings, the issue of national security has become a flashpoint in the increasingly heated Democratic Senate primary in Massachusetts.

In two debates over two nights this week, Reps. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., fought each other's records on the issue of national security, among other things.

Tuesday night, in the final debate before the April 30 primary, Lynch questioned Markey's vote against establishing the joint terrorism task force that helped hunt down the alleged marathon bombers, the Boston Globe reports. He also took issue with Markey's vote against a port security bill, calling Markey's record on national security "far out left" and "ridiculous."

Markey reportedly said Lynch's charges were misleading, telling reporters after the debate, "Many of his charges are desperate, they're sad, they're Karl Rove-ian in their inaccuracies." Markey said he voted against the task force because it would have allowed the U.S. military to intervene in domestic law enforcement, the Globe reports.

Recent polling has shown Markey in the lead in the Democratic primary, though turnout for a special election primary can be hard to gauge. Furthermore, the dynamics of the race may have changed after the April 15 bombing. The candidates running to replace John Kerry, who represented Massachusetts in the Senate for 28 years before becoming secretary of state, put their campaigns on hold last week after the attacks. The Republican primary is also April 30, and the general election is June 25. Now that campaigning has resumed, the Democratic candidates are taking a more aggressive approach.

In a debate Monday, Lynch similarly attacked Markey for his votes on the joint terrorism task force and port security. The candidates were also asked about instsalling security cameras in urban spaces, WBUR reports.

"I do believe it is now time for us to consider more surveillance cameras. We see how helpful those surveillance cameras are," Markey said.

Lynch said cameras should only be used "in places where people would not otherwise expect a high level of privacy."