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Personality Or Party? Mass. Senate Race Shows Value Of Both

When Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts was tapped to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, his state — and national — party bosses were wringing their hands.

Why? The prospect of Republican Scott Brown launching another campaign to return to the Senate, where he served after winning a special election in 2010 to complete the term of the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy. Brown lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren last November in a race for a full Senate term.

But Brown opted not to run for Kerry's seat, and now it will go to either Rep. Ed Markey, a Democrat who has been a congressman for nearly four decades, or Republican newcomer Gabriel Gomez, a state businessman and former Navy SEAL.

Both won their party's primary races Tuesday, and will face off in the general election on June 25.

To get a flavor of current politics in Massachusetts, how the marathon bombing affected the primary races, as well as insight on Brown's political ascendency and decline, we turned to two prominent politicos from the state:

Rob Gray, a Republican political consultant who was an adviser and strategist for Mitt Romney's 2002 gubernatorial campaign, and for Sen. John McCain's 2008 GOP presidential effort, and was press secretary to former Massachusetts Republican Govs. William Weld and Paul Cellucci.

And Warren Tolman, a Boston lawyer and former Democratic state legislator who ran for lieutenant governor in 1998, and for his party's 2002 gubernatorial nomination.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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