(CNN) – Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, a longtime U.S. congressman, and Republican businessman and political newcomer Gabriel Gomez will face off in the Massachusetts Senate special election after winning their respective party nominations in Tuesday's primary, the Associated Press projected.
Markey beat fellow Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, while Gomez won a three-way primary in a race largely overshadowed by the Boston Marathon bombings that took place a little more than two weeks ago.
Markey and Gomez will compete in the special election on June 25. The victor will fill the seat vacated by John Kerry earlier this year when he was confirmed as secretary of state. In the meantime, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick has appointed William "Mo" Cowan to serve as interim senator.
After the primary results were called Tuesday night, the race seemed to get underway almost immediately, with both sides pushing ahead.
Gomez, whose parents emigrated from Colombia, opened his victory speech in Spanish and English, thanking his supporters. But minutes later, he was ready to pounce.
He pointed to the year 1976, a time when the first "Rocky" movie had just debuted and a time when the price of a new home was $44,000, he said.
"I was playing little league baseball,” he said with a wink. “And that was when Ed Markey was elected to Congress.” Markey was recently elected to his 20th term in the House.
"Washington has enough politicians," Gomez added. "If you send another one down there, you're going to get the same result."
The remarks foreshadowed what will likely be the Republican's main attack line against the veteran lawmaker.
"If you're looking for an experienced, slick talking politician, I'm definitely not your guy," he said. Gomez, a private equity investor and former Navy SEAL, has never been elected to public office.
Markey, meanwhile, condemned outside spending and vowed to fight for a constitutional amendment to overturn the landmark Supreme Court case commonly known as Citizens United, which paved the way for groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on political candidates and causes.
Republican groups, Markey argued, will move "mountains of money to buy this election.”
"Mark my words, these outside special interests are going to march right into Massachusetts beginning tomorrow morning," he said. "But as I crisscrossed this state, I heard over and over again that voters want to keep special interests out of this election and from polluting our politics."
He called on Gomez to sign the so-called Peoples' Pledge, a commitment first started in last year's Senate race between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren to discourage third party groups from spending money on the contest.
In a lengthy speech, Markey also highlighted his credentials for the Senate seat, promising to keep fighting for the liberal agenda he has pursued since entering Congress more than 35 years ago.
"In less than two months we will decide who has the leadership and experience to follow John Kerry in the United States Senate, and just as I have done as a congressman, I will stand up in the United States Senate and be a strong, passionate voice for working families across our state."
Markey was introduced Tuesday night by Warren, who fired up the crowd by saying the special election race is going to be a "fight."
Reactions from outside, national groups also gave a glimpse of what the next two months will look like on the campaign trail.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a statement arguing Gomez is out of touch and represents the "extreme right wing" of the GOP.
"Gomez has built his enormous wealth on the backs of hardworking middle class families and he is out of touch with Massachusetts," said Matt Canter, deputy executive director for the DSCC.
Senate Majority PAC, a third-party group seeking to keep the Senate in the hands of Democrats, argued in a statement that Gomez is "Mitt Romney Jr."
"From protecting special tax breaks for billionaires at the expense of seniors and students, to surrounding himself with political insiders from Romney 2012, to talking out of both sides of his mouth, Gabriel Gomez is running a 'Mini Me' retread of Mitt Romney's epic failure of a presidential campaign," the group's statement read.
On the other side, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Markey "won't offer anything new."
"As an entrenched Washington liberal, he'll just pack up his office, move down the street and get right back to work raising taxes, spending money we don't have and ignoring the urgent need to create jobs," Priebus said in a statement.
As a show of support, Brown, who lost his seat to Warren in November, offered a congratulatory tweet to Gomez late Tuesday night.
Even before the bombings, Massachusetts voters weren't paying that much attention to the contest. But the attacks, which left three people dead and more than 260 injured, froze the race, as the two Democratic and three Republican candidates immediately suspended their campaigns for nearly a week.
And when the campaigning resumed, it competed with non-stop media coverage of the investigation into the bombings.
The bombings also altered the campaigns, as some of the candidates altered their messaging to include the bombings and highlighted their national security credentials.
Both nominees acknowledged the tragedy in their victory speeches and thanked the first responders, doctors, nurses and law enforcement that tended to the victims and chased down the suspects.