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U.S. Senate Candidates to Debate April 8

UMass Lowell, Boston Herald to Host Event

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Contacts for media: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or and  Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or

LOWELL, Mass. – Candidates seeking to fill the U.S. Senate seat representing Massachusetts will debate at UMass Lowell on Monday, April 8.

The candidates in the Democratic primary – U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and U.S. Rep. Edward Markey – will debate starting at 7:30 p.m. All three candidates in the Republican race – businessman Gabriel Gomez, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Dan Winslow – have been invited to debate, as well. If they accept, the Republican debate will be held at 6 p.m. The event will be held at Durgin Hall, located at 35 Wilder St., on UMass Lowell’s South Campus. 

UMass Lowell student panelists will ask questions of the candidates at the event, which is co-sponsored UMass Lowell and the Boston Herald. The moderator will be media entrepreneur and reporter Jaclyn Cashman. Students from schools across Massachusetts will be invited to attend, along with the public and all media organizations, including any TV and radio stations interested in airing the debate live. 

The candidates are seeking to replace John Kerry in the U.S. Senate. Kerry resigned his seat earlier this year to become U.S. Secretary of State. Voters will go to the polls for primaries April 30 with the winners facing each other in the special election on June 25. 

“The election of the next U.S. senator from Massachusetts this year could not be more important,” said Frank Talty, co-director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion. “Even though this is a special election, the person chosen could, like Sen. Edward Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry, serve the citizens of the Commonwealth for many years, if not decades, to come. It is imperative that voters get to know the candidates that seek to fill this seat. The debate here at UMass Lowell can ensure that voters make an educated choice for this important position.”

A UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll released March 6, the first to measure matchups in both primary races, found Markey ahead of Lynch by 29.5 percentage points among potential Democratic primary voters and that Markey led all three Republican candidates in head-to-head matchups by double digits.

The debate will be presented through UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion, which sponsors events and independent, nonpartisan public opinion polls on politics and social issues that provide students and faculty with real-world academic and research opportunities. More information on the debate is available at

“UMass Lowell seeks to provide students with unique experiential education opportunities and this debate will certainly do so, whether as the panelists questioning the candidates or as those in the audience listening to their responses. We also welcome students from other institutions and the public to the debate to see the candidates discuss the issues in person,” said Chancellor Marty Meehan.

“We are thrilled to once again partner with UMass Lowell on this debate. Incorporating savvy and politically energized students into the debate will bring a fresh perspective to the conversation and allow voters a unique, unfettered look at all of the candidates for United States Senate,” said Patrick J. Purcell, Boston Herald president and publisher.

The April 8 debate is the third held by UMass Lowell and the Boston Herald. The partners presented two debates in the race for the Senate seat now held by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the first in October 2011 featuring Democrats seeking to challenge then-incumbent Sen. Scott Brown. The second, held in October 2012, was a head-to-head debate between Brown and Warren that drew more than 5,000 people to the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell and was watched and listened to around the world.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 16,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.