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A Gubernatorial ‘Food Fight’ As Election Day Nears

BOSTON — With less than a week before Election Day, and the polls showing only a few percentage points between them, Gov. Deval Patrick and Republican Charlie Baker are still slugging it out on the campaign trail.

The candidates know what they’re in for this final week.

“I think this race is going to be a proverbial food fight between now and Election Day. And I think the great part about this is voters have a real choice,” Baker said, speaking to reporters near the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Gov. Deval Patrick, left, and Republican challenger Charlie Baker.

Gov. Deval Patrick, left, and Republican challenger Charlie Baker. (AP)

In Roxbury a few hours later, the governor was asked about the food-fight analogy. He laughed.

“I’m not throwing anything, I think you know, it would be great if he threw some answers back on that memo he wrote in 1998, I think it was,” Patrick said.

This kind of give and take on the campaign trail continued with both candidates making charges and counter-charges. It seemed as if they were hoping something would stick.

Baker was asked again about the memo he wrote expressing concerns about Big Dig spending and the effect it would have on other road and bridge projects. He was quick to turn the question around to take aim at the governor.

“Look, we have seven days to go in this election. And I think the fact the governor keeps talking about something that happened 12 or 14 or 15 years ago is a clear indicator about the complete lack of message and lack of substance to his campaign about what he wants to do over the next four years,” Baker said.

Baker reiterated his charge that Patrick is not acknowledging an anticipated $2 billion budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year.

The governor disagrees.

“First of all, the budget is balanced. And that is something Charlie doesn’t want you to appreciate. But it’s true, it’s balanced. And it has been every one of the last four years,” Patrick said.

“Next year, and this is his complaint, there will be fewer of those one-time funds, in the rainy day fund, to use to balance the budget. Fortunately, we are getting the growth we invested in.”

Don’t expect the bickering to let up before Election Day. Both Baker and Patrick are planning statewide bus tours this weekend in the hopes of swaying those final undecided votes.

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