Massachusetts Rep. Edward J.  Markey won the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State John Kerry’s old Senate seat Tuesday, advancing to special election campaign against Republican Gabriel Gomez, which the Democrat will be heavily favored to win.

With 60 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Markey, who led Rep. Stephen F. Lynch 57 percent to 43 percent.

Three years after Massachusetts Democrats nominated Attorney General Martha Coakley, a flawed candidate who was upset by Republican Scott Brown in the race for late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat, Democratic leaders sought to clear the field early for Markey, the liberal dean of the state’s congressional delegation. Both Kerry and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee backed him from day one.