Markey vs. Gomez vs. Zzzzzzzzz

There is an election for US Senate in Massachusetts two weeks from tomorrow — and the Boston Herald is going to beat readers over the head with that news from now until June 25. But it’s not likely to do much to energize voters who seem as excited about the race as they would be a trip to the dentist.

The Herald is doing its best to give the contest to fill John Kerry’s seat all the tension and drama that sell newspapers. It’s calling on every bit of creative tabloid overreach, however, to sell the Senate snoozefest as a slugfest. “Man vs. Machine!” blares today’s front-page headline for a story on Republican Gabriel Gomez vowing to stand up to the Washington “army” that Democrat Ed Markey is calling in to shore up his campaign in heavily Democratic-leaning Massachusetts.

John Walsh, the state Democratic Party chairman, is busy revving up a ground game operation so that the party isn’t caught sleeping as it was in 2010 when Scott Brown blew past Martha Coakley. “To screw up a US Senate special election isn’t a theory for us,” Walsh told the Globe earlier this month. “We’ve done it, so nobody is taking anything for granted.”

Which is a good thing, because the veteran Malden congressman has not exactly lit the state on fire with his bid to move up to the Senate after nearly four decades in the House. A video posted on Markey’s YouTube channel six days ago, titled “Ed on the trail,” has had all of 302 views. Apparently more captivating than Markey pressing the flesh on the trail is Sen. Elizabeth Warren simply looking into the camera. A video Warren cut for Markey last month has garnered more than 1,800 views.

To top off the field operation being put in place, Markey will have current VP Joe Biden and former VP Al Gore here to host a fundraiser tomorrow, with the main attraction President Obama at a rally on Wednesday. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was here yesterday.

With that kind of star power boosting Markey’s showdown with Gomez, a former Navy SEAL who went on to make a mint in private equity investing, you might think people are juiced up about the election. You would be wrong.  That’s certainly the case if Attleboro is any kind of barometer of statewide sentiment. Town Hall stayed open until 8 p.m. last Wednesday, the last day to register to vote for the Senate election. From the regular closing time of 4:30 until 8, exactly zero residents showed up to register.  “There’s no interest,” election clerk Leslie Veiga told the Sun Chronicle.

                                                                                                                                                                                —MICHAEL JONAS

BEACON HILL

Former governor Paul Cellucci died on Saturday after a five-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Cellucci will lie in repose in the State House Hall of Flags Rotunda on Thursday afternoon; a public funeral Mass will be held on Friday in his hometown of Hudson. Joe Battenfeld says the state GOP needs more people like Cellucci.

Keller@Large and BFF Jim O’Sullivan of Boston.com kick around their thoughts on the special Senate election, EBT reform, and Gov. Deval Patrick’s drinking.

PR maven George Regan pens a head-scratching letter to the editor of his hometown Patriot Ledger, going off on the shooting of a bear in Newton last week, claiming it’s the latest mishap for the Patrick administration and saying the bear would still be alive “if it had shown an EBT card and was a member of the state’s ‘protected class.’” Huh?

MARATHON BOMBINGS

Hundreds of people descended on St. Ann Church in Dorchester yesterday for a Mass to remember Martin Richard, who would have turned nine that day.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Quincy, Braintree, and Weymouth are all undergoing a development boom but Weymouth’s municipal coffers are not seeing the benefits because the largest projects are on tax-exempt land.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development issues a report that’s critical of Leominster’s handling of its block grant funds, but Mayor Dean Mazzarella believes the report vindicates his administration.

CASINOS

Middleboro officials, who were courted by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to site a casino six years ago but were left at the altar when the tribe turned to Taunton, believe they still have a valid contract.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte backs the immigration bill due for a vote shortly, Politico reports.

The NSA whistleblower steps forward, the Guardian reports. He is living in Hong Kong, and Time wonders whether the Chinese special administrative region will allow him to be extradited to the United States. The Washington Post has a profile of the man who has only a GED and never graduated from the Maryland community college he attended.

A Globe profile finds that interim US Senator William “Mo” Cowan is widely liked in Washington, but the story struggles to identify anything of note he has done during his brief stint.

The constitutionality of a Georgia town’s ordinance requiring all homeowners to own a gun and ammunition is being challenged in court, Governing reports.

ELECTIONS

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, running for reelection, is making the case that reduced crime and significant investments are attracting people and businesses to the city, the Item reports.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Sequestration cuts have squeezed housing authorities around the state, forcing a freeze on the Section 8 voucher waiting list and cuts to employee salaries and landlord payments.

EDUCATION

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll isn’t having much luck extending the school day and year, but she isn’t giving up, the Salem News reports.

Head Start, the federally-funded preschool program for three- and four-year-olds, is taking a big hit under sequestration, with more than 1,300 slots for Massachusetts children due to disappear this fall as a result of the spending standoff.

A Sudbury woman provides hospice services for pets.

HEALTH CARE

State officials are seeking federal permission for a pilot program that would fill a gap in subsidies for family insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, a hole that is being termed an unintended “glitch” in the law but which there is little prospect of fixing in Congress because of partisan gridlock.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

New, costly  electricity transmission lines aren’t New England’s only option, Michael Henry of Environment Northeast writes in CommonWealth.

They’re back: A great white shark was spotted in the waters off Nauset Beach in Orleans. The Cape Cod Times argues that the Outer Cape is not prepared for their arrival and points to South Africa for a low-cost, shark-spotting solution.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A Milton High School chemistry teacher who is the school’s longtime track coach was arrested and charged with indecent assault on a female student.

MEDIA

Richard Gaines, a former editor of the Boston Phoenix and veteran journalist who covered everything from the fishing industry to state politics, was found dead in the pool of his Gloucester home from an apparent heart attack over the weekend.

Nonprofit news sites are growing, but the search for a reliable business model continues, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.