Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch enters Massachusetts Senate race

Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch on Thursday afternoon announced his candidacy for U.S. senator in Massachusetts, setting up a competitive primary race against his colleague, Rep. Ed Markey.

Lynch took the opportunity on Thursday to embrace his outsider status. "I will not fit in. But neither would you. And I think that can be a good thing. Because when we win we will send a message," Lynch said, according to his prepared remarks.

The Democratic establishment, including Sen. John Kerry—whose seat is up for grabs after Kerry's confirmation as secretary of state—has already announced support for Markey. But Lynch on Thursday previewed how he may try to use that against Markey in the primary campaign.

"We won’t win this race because of money or endorsements or backroom deals to clear the field. We will win by earning the support of the good people of this state the way it should be won: By courage, by honesty and by hard work," Lynch said in his statement.

Though Lynch's announcement undoubtedly was unwelcome news for the Markey camp, Markey issued a statement welcoming his colleague to the race: “I urge him to join me in committing to the people’s pledge to prevent outside special interests groups from injecting millions into this campaign. Time and again, I've stood up to big oil, Wall Street and the gun lobby, and this race should be about the people of Massachusetts having a voice in the Senate, not the special interests."

The special primary race is set for April 30 with a special general election on June 25.

On the Republican side, the party is waiting to see if Republican Scott Brown, who lost re-election to the Senate last fall to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, is putting himself in the race.