BOSTON — With the clock ticking down toward Election Day, Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren appealed to independent-minded voters while their campaigns geared up for a furious get-out-the-vote effort that could tip the scales in the nation’s most expensive Senate race.
Scott Brown In Boston’s North End
On Friday, Brown campaigned with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a moderate Republican who praised Brown as a man of “common sense” who has kept his promise to work across the political aisle.
Giuliani joined Brown for a leg of his “people over party” bus tour. They stopped in Boston’s heavily Italian North End neighborhood, where they greeted supporters and visited several well-known restaurants and pastry shops along Hanover Street.
“When he helped to turn this country around two years ago, Scott Brown promised to be an independent voice for Massachusetts, an independent voice for America,” Giuliani said, “a man who’s a Republican, but a man who puts his state and his country first.”
Giuliani said that Brown’s bipartisan approach places Brown in a powerful position and that Warren would be a force for partisan gridlock.
“His opponent has only one idea: It’s her way or the highway. It’s all the way out on the left fringe so far I think she’s fallen off the cliff,” Giuliani said.
In the final days of the campaign, Brown has been stressing not only his bipartisan credentials, but his plans for the economy. He cited the latest U.S. jobs report, out Friday, as evidence that the economy is still the most important issue, especially to many small businesses in the North End.
Brown continues his statewide bus tour Saturday with stops in Cape Cod, the South Shore, Fall River and Worcester. His campaign bus bears the slogan, “An Independent Voice.”
One of Brown’s key strategists, Eric Fehrnstrom — who also advises Mitt Romney — said Brown’s independent stance is what will appear to unenrolled voters, who make up the majority of the electorate in Massachusetts.
“Scott’s brand of leadership is something that the people of Massachusetts find very appealing. He is not an ideological flame-thrower,” Fehrnstrom said. ”He does not go down there to vote 100 percent with his party. Instead, he exercises his own judgment and his own discretion. He looks at every bill, and he decides, ‘Is this good or bad for the people I represent?’ ”
Many of the supporters along Brown’s bus tour said they were supporting Brown because they viewed him as a moderate.
Elizabeth Warren In Lowell
Warren, meanwhile, made campaign stops Friday in Cambridge, Woburn, Wellesley and Hudson before wrapping up the day with a get-out-the-vote rally at a Lowell gym where Micky Ward, the inspiration for the film “The Fighter,” was trained.
The gym’s owner, Art Ramalho, has called Warren “a fighter we need in our corner.” Ramalho helped train Ward, a Lowell native, who was portrayed in the film by Boston native Mark Wahlberg. Lowell’s mayor, Patrick Murphy, was among the many young people who also boxed there.
“Luckily, we have a candidate in Elizabeth who understands how to fight her way into the most exclusive clubs,” Murphy said.
The gym was packed with firefighters, members of Lowell’s Cambodian community and women.
“Let’s create another revolution and elect the first woman from Massachusetts to the United States Senate: Elizabeth Warren!” said U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, the only woman in the Massachusetts congressional delegation.
“I love to come to Lowell,” Warren gushed. “This is great! This is great! I am so honored to be with a group of such incredible fighters here.”
Surrounded by fighting posters, a banner honoring Ward as world champion, an American flag and a sign that said “No pain, no gain,” Warren returned to a frequent theme of her campaign.
“We believe in building the infrastructure, in roads and bridges and communications and power,” Warren said. “We believe in building those jobs and building that future.”
And she closed with her central argument: that a vote for Brown is a vote for Republican control of the Senate.
“When I got in this, I knew how important this race would be,” Warren said. “And it turns out this race may very well be the race for control of the United States Senate.”
Lowell could be key to control of the Massachusetts Senate seat, as it was one of the few cities that Brown won two years ago.
Warren also picked up the endorsement Friday of Worcester Mayor Joe Petty, along with five former mayors of the state’s second-largest city, including current Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray.
Election Day is Tuesday.
With reporting by WBUR’s Monica Brady-Myerov in Boston, WBUR’s Fred Thys in Lowell and The Associated Press