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The two front-runners in the race for governor of Massachusetts — Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker — made a final pitch to voters this weekend ahead of the Nov. 4 election.
And, for both candidates, their closing arguments relied on the charisma and blessings of two politicians with direct experience in this job. Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick gave Coakley a fiery introduction in Lawrence, while, across the Merrimack Valley, former Republican Gov. Bill Weld praised Baker as a man who "on his worst days [is] so much better than I was on my best days."
Most polls indicate Baker has a clear edge, but in recent days, Baker's campaign has been sidetracked by questions about the authenticity of a fisherman tale that brought the candidate to tears in a debate.
Democrats eagerly pounced on the inconsistencies in Baker's fisherman story, but the Republican candidate insists he told the truth, and he's now trying to refocus the narrative.
"Voters don't want to know why you don't like the other person," he told a crowd of supporters at The Owl Diner in Lowell. "They want to know what you can do to build a great state."
This was Baker's 13th stop in Lowell since he announced his candidacy. He has campaigned heavily in urban centers. And, at Saturday's event, he received the endorsement of Rep. David Nangle, a Democrat who crossed party lines previously in 2012, supporting Republican Scott Brown.
"In my opinion, if you took the five resumes of the five individuals running for governor, and you took their names and their party affiliations off of the resumes ... there's nobody that would come to the top of that resume pile other than Charlie Baker," Nangle said.
Nangle is among a slew of Democrats, including Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk and Quincy Mayor Tom Koch, who have publicly endorsed Baker.
Baker points to this support from Democrats as proof that he'll be a bipartisan leader.
Coakley is relying on the formidable Democratic get-out-the-vote effort to carry her to victory.
Coakley spent Saturday energizing the canvassers who are going door-to-door for her this weekend, from union volunteers in Malden to Latinos in Lawrence.
"From the beginning, we knew this would be a tight race, and it is, but we believe we're going to win, because getting out the vote, and it's true in MetroWest ... It's true in Boston. It's true all over the state. We've got a great organization," Coakley said at a stop in Framingham.
Coakley won Framingham in her race against Brown in 2010. A bigger margin of victory in Framingham this Tuesday could help her offset Baker wins elsewhere.
Saturday afternoon, Coakley ran a Route 9 campaign as she headed from Framingham to Worcester and Springfield.
The rain put a damper on two events: a motorcycle rally in Framingham canceled because the roads were too slick, and a soccer game in Worcester.
But canvassers said the rain helped them because people stayed home, and volunteers were able to contact likely Coakley supporters to make sure they vote on Nov. 4.
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