WASHINGTON — Massachusetts state Rep. Carl Sciortino is getting a leg up on competition to take Rep. Ed Markey's seat in Congress should Markey win the special Senate election in Massachusetts, announcing his own run for Congress in Markey's district Friday.
"There's no time to lose in getting a campaign up and running. I don't want to take anything for granted by waiting for the summer," Sciortino told BuzzFeed Friday afternoon. "We need to start now to get ready."
Markey is running to take former Sen. John Kerry's seat in the Senate, currently held by Sen. Mo Cowan, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Deval Patrick. Although Markey is the favorite, he does have a primary challenge from Rep. Stephen Lynch, which will be held April 30, and a general election on June 25.
If Markey wins for the Senate seat, there would be a special election for his House seat. And, as of Friday, Sciortino will be a candidate for that seat.
"I am running to continue the strong progressive leadership that the families of the Fifth District have always counted on. I look forward to bringing my record of accomplishment to Washington to fight for our progressive values," Sciortino said in a news release announcing his plans.
When talking about his plans while the seat he is seeking is not yet open, Sciortino acknowledged the preemptive nature of his announcement, saying, "Obviously, the top priority is to make sure that we get Ed Markey elected as our next senator. I've been very proud to have him as my congressman, and I'll be very proud to have him as my senator."
"Meanwhile, I am putting together my campaign team and beginning to reach out to the communities I don't currently represent and introduce myself, and to begin to build up a network of supporters and make sure that we are ready to hit the ground running in June."
Already a veteran lawmaker, Sciortino has been in the Massachusetts legislature for nearly a decade, having first won his seat in 2004.
He would increase the out congressional delegation in D.C., becoming the eighth out LGBT lawmaker in the 113th Congress and the third out lawmaker to serve from Massachusetts. Former Reps. Gerry Studds and Barney Frank, both from Massachusetts, were the first and second out gay lawmakers in Congress.
With Frank's departure from Congress, in fact, this is the first time since Studds publicly announced he was gay in 1983 that Massachusetts has not had out gay representation in Congress.
To that, Sciortino said he would be well poised to continue that legacy.
"I have a clear history of fighting for LGBT equality, from my first race" — when he defeated an anti-gay incumbent lawmaker to get to the Statehouse. "I've been very proud of the work that Congressman Frank has done in representing Massachusetts, and it's important to continue to have progressive leadership coming from the fifth congressional district as well," Sciortino said.
NOTE: This article was updated to include BuzzFeed's interview with Scirtino.