The state’s hotly contested race for the US Senate came to East Boston this afternoon, as Republican incumbent Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, both marched in the city’s annual Columbus Day parade.
Separated only by the UMass Lowell marching band, the rivals greeted supporters along the route as their aides and volunteers tried to pump up the crowd by chanting slogans and passing out campaign paraphernalia.
Campaign signs for both candidates dotted the route, and Brown and Warren appeared to be greeted with comparable levels of enthusiastic cheers, polite applause and quiet stares as the parade progressed.
“We appreciate your independence, Scott,” said Fred Sullivan, 53, of West Roxbury.
“I’m trying,” replied Brown, who marched with his wife, Gail Huff. “I’m battling every day out there.”
Sullivan, a registered Democrat who plans to vote for Brown, echoed the comments of other Brown supporters who credited him with a willingness to work on both sides of the aisle in Washington.
“I know he’s trying hard,” Sullivan said.
Warren, for her part, marched with a group of mostly young supporters, as well as Boston city councilors Salvatore LaMattina, Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo. At one point Warren thanked Colleen Daniel, 31, of East Boston, who shouted, “You’ve got our vote!”
Daniel later cited Warren’s work as a consumer advocate when asked why she plans to vote for the Harvard law professor.
“I think we’ve all been [hurt] to the point where we need someone who’s on our side,” Daniel said. “Plus, I’m a woman.”
But Brown had support from women in the crowd as well, including Cassandra Furer, 43, of Boston. “He’s bi-partisan, so he gets results,” she said.
Susan Locigno, 57, of East Boston, posed for a photo with Brown and said “his looks” when asked why she supports him.
“He’s an honest guy, sincere,” Locigno said, adding that she also finds Warren’s personality to be abrasive. “I always vote for the [candidate] who doesn’t badger. She badgers.”
Marie Phillips, 61, of Lynn, had a different take. She shook Warren’s hand and later explained why she is backing the Harvard law professor.
“She’s for the middle class,” Phillips said. “I believe in what she’s saying. I believe it’s time for a change.”
The parade followed a Brown rally in Hyannis yesterday during which police escorted Warren supporters away from the crowds after, according to police, they were being disruptive, the Cape Cod Times reported. Today, a Barnstable Democratic official sent the Globe photographs that appeared to show a man at the rally placing a Brown campaign sign on a Native American statue. Warren’s claims to Native American heritage have been a contentious issue in the campaign.
Brown said during a brief interview as the parade was ending that he was not aware of the incident.
“If I had seen it, I would have told him to take it down,” he said.
Warren also said she was unaware of the events at the Hyannis rally and was focused on her own bid for the seat.
“I’m proud of and stand by my campaign,” she said.