Massachusetts Senate Election Debate Gets Testy Over Term Limits

The race for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts dipped to the nastiness it’s been known for in the third and final debate on Tuesday night.

Republican Gabriel Gomez portrayed his Democratic opponent, Rep. Edward Markey, as Old Guard and argued that it’s time for a new face with new ideas.

Markey countered by saying that Gomez would be a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and that Massachusetts would not be getting someone with new ideas.

“You wish that you were running against Mitch McConnell or Newt Gingrich or even Gerald Ford, who was President when you first got down there [to Washington D.C.],” Gomez said to Markey.

“But the reality is, you’re running against me, a first-generation American, one who is not afraid to tell his party when they’re wrong. They’re wrong on immigration right now. They’re wrong on gay marriage, wrong on expanded background checks.”

But temperatures really soared when the question of term limits arose.

Gomez supports a two-term limit for Senate members.

Gomez, who often utters “37 years in Washington” when referring to Markey’s tenure in Congress, said he told veteran Republican Sen. John McCain, who campaigned for Gomez last month, that he should leave the Senate at the end of his term.

“Mr. Gomez did not tell John McCain, ‘This should be your last term. You should be leaving right now,’” Markey said. “That conversation did not happen.”

Gomez said that conversation "absolutely did happen."

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers told reporters on Wednesday that Gomez and the senator, who was elected to the Senate in 1987, had discussed term limits.

“Sen. McCain did discuss the issue of term limits with Gabriel Gomez when they campaigned together last month,” Rogers said. “They disagree on this particular issue, but agree on many others."

Markey and Gomez also sparred on gun control, taxes and Markey's record in Congress and Gomez's background in business.

Gomez, the son of Colombian immigrants, is a businessman and a former Navy SEAL.

Recent polls have showed Markey with a lead over Gomez. Some polls have showed Markey with a narrow lead, of less than five points, while other have showed a double-digit edge.

The special election is scheduled for June 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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