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Markey Campaign Shifts Focus To Voter Turnout

BOSTON — Rep. Ed Markey’s Senate campaign is shifting its focus to ensuring supporters make it to the polls on Tuesday. Vice President Joe Biden will join Markey in that push Saturday. But on Friday, Markey spent the day campaigning with local elected officials.

At a dining room of a senior citizen center in Quincy, Markey went from table to table, shaking hands and listening politely.

At one table, Geri Melanson told the Democrat she’s rooting for him. Melanson is 72 years old, six years Markey’s senior.

“Oh, I think [Markey] is great,” she said. “And I certainly am gonna vote for him. You know the other guy, nobody really knows him … and I don’t think anybody really wants to know him. Because he’s our guy, Markey, you know?

Meeting with voters such as Melanson might seem like good retail politics. But there’s a strategic reason Markey stopped at this senior citizens center.

“Take a look around,” state Rep. Ron Mariano said. “There’s about 850 to 900 seniors in this building.” Mariano, of Quincy, owes his seat to this very senior citizen housing complex. It’s so big it is its own voting precinct.

“Folks vote downstairs from where they live. Heat, humidity should not be a factor,” Mariano said. “If you can walk out with 900, or even if you get half of them or three-quarters of them, a 600 to 700 vote cushion, it’s like money in the bank.”

This is the part of an election campaign where the message hands the keys over to the machinery. It’s about getting out the vote you’ve got.

At Markey’s field office in Dorchester on Friday, campaign worker Radu Florescu signed up a volunteer to go door to door on Election Day. Last year, this space was also a campaign office for Elizabeth Warren. She was successful in her bid for U.S. Senate thanks to a strong get-out-the-vote effort.

She returned to the Dorchester office Friday to try to energize some of the same campaign volunteers who last year canvassed neighborhoods and manned phone banks for her.

“Our job in a democracy is not just to read the papers and say, ‘It’s done, the pundits have called the race.’” Warren said. “Our job in a democracy is to turn people out. It doesn’t count until you get people in to vote.”

That’s especially important for Congressman Ed Markey. He’s trying to energize voters without something that Elizabeth Warren had: a presidential election that fell on the same day. Democrats who turned out in droves to elect President Obama helped lift Warren over the top. Markey has to convince them to turn out for just him in a special election on what may be a beautiful summer day.

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