BOSTON Republican Gabriel Gomez and Democrat Edward Markey hit the campaign trail across Massachusetts on Sunday, urging their supporters not to let up as the clock ticks down on the state’s special U.S. Senate election.
Gomez planned to greet voters in western Massachusetts, including Springfield, Chicopee and Agawam, before attending a rally in Boston’s North End with former Boston Bruins coach and player Mike Milbury. Markey was stumping in Lynn, Lowell, Waltham, Framingham and Worcester, including stops with Democratic Gov. Michael Dukakis and Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Gomez and Markey are vying in Tuesday’s election to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the resignation of John Kerry to become secretary of state.
Both campaigns are putting added emphasis on their efforts to ensure their voters get to the polls.
The ramped up get-out-the-vote drives come amid warnings from the state’s top election official that turnout could be very light given distractions like the start of summer vacation and the Bruins’ pursuit of hockey’s Stanley Cup.
The national parties are also keeping an eye on the Massachusetts contest as Republicans try to chip away at the Democrats’ hold on the Senate and Democrats seek to shore up their control of the chamber.
On Saturday, Markey campaigned with Vice President Joe Biden at a rally on the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth campus. Biden was the latest in a string of Democratic heavy-hitters who have campaigned for Markey in recent weeks, including President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
Biden mocked Gomez’s claim that he would represent a new kind of Republican.
“This is not your father’s Republican party. This is not even Mitt Romney’s Republican party,” Biden said. “This is a different … breed of cat. They think compromise is a dirty word. These guys aren’t just conservative; they are anti-government.”
Gomez has cast himself as a “different kind of Republican,” noting that he supports gay marriage, expanded background checks for gun buyers and an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system and believes global warming is real and humans are contributing to it.
Gomez on Sunday dismissed a recent poll giving Markey a double-digit lead and said, if elected, he said he could work with Massachusetts’ other U.S. senator, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, and Obama. Gomez also said that, unlike Markey, he could reach across the political aisle to work with fellow Republicans.
A UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll last week found 56 percent of those responding favored Markey, compared with 36 percent supporting Gomez. Seven percent were undecided. The telephone poll of 600 Massachusetts voters from June 15-19 has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Gomez said the polls move “up and down all over the place.”
Gomez also hinted that even if he loses Tuesday, he might consider launching another campaign for the seat. Whoever wins Tuesday’s contest will have to run for re-election to the same Senate seat next year.
“As a famous general once said back in World War II, ‘I shall return,'” Gomez said, in a reference to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, when asked if he would consider another run.
Both candidates have raised millions to help get their message out to voters, though Markey has been more successful then Gomez.
The Federal Election Commission reports show that as of June 5, Markey had raised $7.8 million, including more than $800,000 from political action committees.
Gomez has raised $3.3 million, including $170,000 from PACs. Gomez’s total includes $900,000 in loans he made to his campaign.
TV viewers were also being treated to a barrage of campaign ads in the final days.
As of Friday, Democrats invested $5.2 million in television advertising compared to $3 million on the Republican side, according to the Smart Media Group, which tracks political advertising.