BOSTON Ousted Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown hasn’t said whether he’ll run for John Kerry’s Senate seat, but he’s already taking a shot at a possible Democratic rival.
Brown, who lost his re-election battle last year to Elizabeth Warren, questioned how much time U.S. Rep. Edward Markey spends in Massachusetts.
Markey, whose congressional district includes his hometown of Malden, has said he’ll run for Kerry’s seat if Kerry is confirmed as U.S secretary of state, which is expected.
Brown said Wednesday that Democrats are making it tempting for him to run for office in Washington, D.C., again.
“You got Ed Markey: Does he even live here?” Brown said during an interview on WTKK-FM. “You’ve got to check the travel records. Now I’ve come back and forth every weekend, almost for three years, and I see, you know, most of the delegation. I have never seen Ed on the airplane, ever.”
A Markey campaign aide said Markey has lived his entire life in Malden and is “proud to come from and represent the values of the people of Malden.”
“Scott Brown has not yet announced that he is running for Senate, but he is already launching false, personal attacks from the sidelines,” Markey spokeswoman Giselle Barry said in a statement Wednesday.
Markey’s Malden home was owned by his parents and is where he grew up. He and his wife, Susan Blumenthal, bought it in 2001 following his father’s death. The couple also owns a home in Chevy Chase, Md.
Barry noted that Markey was on hand last month as Malden celebrated a decision by developers to build a minor league baseball park on a former gas plant site blocks from his house.
Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, a Democrat, also vouched for Markey in a statement, saying “he’s very much a presence in Malden” who can be found “at the YMCA shooting hoops, at our fabulous restaurants on Saturday nights, or at community events throughout the year.”
Brown, who lives in Wrentham, also owns a home in Washington. His tax returns showed he owned five properties in 2011: homes in Massachusetts and Washington, a vacation home in New Hampshire and two rental condominiums in Boston. A third family-owned condo was placed in the name of his daughter Ayla Brown, a singer and former “American Idol” contestant, and wasn’t listed on his returns.
According to Massachusetts law, a member of Congress representing the state must be at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen for seven years and an “inhabitant of Massachusetts” when elected.
The question of Markey’s residency isn’t new. It was most recently raised during the 2010 election by Markey’s Republican challenger, Woburn chiropractor Gerry Dembrowski, who failed to unseat him.
The early political sniping is one indication how fiercely both parties are eyeing the likely special election, which would be the third Senate contest in the Massachusetts since 2010 should Kerry win confirmation as secretary of state by his fellow senators. If Kerry is confirmed, he would have to resign the seat he’s held for nearly three decades, and Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick would have to set a date for the special election within 145 to 160 days of the resignation.
When Markey announced his candidacy, Kerry all but endorsed him, praising him as “one of the most experienced and capable legislators in the entire Congress.”
“It would be an almost unprecedented occasion for such an accomplished legislator to join the Senate able to hit the ground running on every issue of importance to Massachusetts,” Kerry added.
Other top Democratic figures, including Victoria Kennedy, widow of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, also praised Markey, while another possible Democratic contender, Rep. Niki Tsongas, of Lowell, pulled her name from contention.
U.S. Reps. Michael Capuano, of Somerville, and Stephen Lynch, of Boston, haven’t said if they’re planning to run.
Markey, who has served in Congress since 1976, is stressing his experience on Capitol Hill as a key asset.
Brown would enter the race with strong name recognition, a proven ability to raise millions of dollars in donations and a statewide campaign organization. That would make him a front-runner, despite his recent loss to Warren, who’s set to be sworn in Thursday.
Political questions over residency aren’t new in Massachusetts. In 2002, Democrats unsuccessfully tried to block Republican Mitt Romney’s name from the ballot for governor, arguing that the time he spent in Utah running the Olympics made him ineligible.