Democratic incumbent: John Kerry
Republican candidate: Jeff Beatty
Kerry, 64, has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 1985. He is 18th in seniority, and 10th among Democrats. He chairs the Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. Kerry was lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1985. He was the unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee in 2004.
Beatty, 55, has not served in elective office. He lost a congressional election in 2006.
Polls cited in Real Clear Politics show Kerry ahead by margins ranging from 22 to 38 percentage points.
This is yet another northern state where Republicans used to be strong, before becoming an endangered species in New England. The most recent Republican in this seat was Ed Brooke (1967-79). The other seat came seemingly permanently into Democratic hands, when John F. Kennedy defeated Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.'s reelection bid in 1952.