Less than 48 hours before the polls open, the two Democratic and three Republican US Senate hopefuls crisscrossed Massachusetts Sunday, encouraging voters— if not pleading with them — to vote on Tuesday.
On the final weekend of campaigning, candidates often appear at large, orchestrated events aimed at topping off a long election effort. But after a truncated primary campaign marked by a distracted electorate, the candidates showed up at a wide range of mostly small events where they focused on the basics: reminding people that Tuesday is primary day, and pressing them to cast their ballots.
“Vote on Tuesday,” private equity investor Gabriel E. Gomez, Republican of Cohasset, requested of beer-sipping patrons at the Banner Bar and Grille in Worcester.
“The polls open at 7 in the morning on Tuesday, so we’ve got some work to do between now and then,” Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of South Boston, told about 30 supporters gathered at a campaign office in Lynn.
Representatives Edward J. Markey seemed to draw some of the day’s biggest crowds. As he walked into Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain, a frequent stop on the Democratic campaign circuit, the crowd broke into loud applause and cheers which morphed into chants of “Mar-key! Mar-key!”
Local Democratic elected officials, including Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, praised Markey for his progressive stances, before Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, took the microphone. She said he has been and would continue to be a champion for abortion rights and said there was a big difference between Markey and Lynch on the issue.
Standing in front of a framed likenesses of PresidentJohn F. Kennedy and his brothers Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy, Markey ticked through his stances on issues from health care to the environment to gay marriage.
Steve Glickel, 67, said he liked Lynch, liked his union background ,and thought he was a “good guy.” But, Glickel said, Markey was simply closer to where he stood on the issues.
Markey has outpaced Lynch in fund-raising and is considered the front-runner in Tuesday’s primary.
But in a short speech to about 25 supporters and volunteers in Lynn Sunday morning, Lynch said his campaign was ready to stun the political world.
He noted that special elections are unpredictable and reminded his supporters he had previously won two that he was expected to lose — for the state Senate in 1996and for the US House of Representatives in 2001.
Before Lynch spoke, Reading resident Danny Gray — who only gave his age as “seasoned” — stood holding a cup of mostly-drunk Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Gray said he thought Lynch was going to win because of the congressman’s support among working people.
“He represents the blue collar worker, pulling himself by his bootstraps,” Gray said.
Relaxed and soft-spoken, Lynch greeted supporters with hugs and handshakes and knew many of his volunteers by name.
After spending about 40 minutes with them, he headed to a Little League game.
Another Little League game was the last stop of the day for Gomez, so he could watch his son pitch.
Before that, he pursued a heavy schedule of retail politicking across the state, from Westfield to Worcester to Springfield to Shrewsbury.
After stopping at a fire station in Worcester to greet the firefighters, he casually schmoozed with patrons and supporters at the Banner, ribbing one man about his Yankees baseball cap.
“I’m a diehard Red Sox fan,” Gomez said with a smile, shaking the man’s hand and giving him literature about his campaign.
Frank Irr, a Gomez supporter and the Republican town committee chair in Millbury, sat watching the candidate work his way to each of the 20 people or so in the establishment. He said he was supporting Gomez because he is “the fresh face” the Republican party is looking for.
As most candidates focused their attention on garnering votes in and around the Boston area Sunday, another of the Republicans, state Representative Daniel B. Winslow, began his day in the western part of the state,greeting people at a diner in Chicopee before making his way east to Worcester, Woburn, and communities in between.
Winslow announced Sunday his campaign will begin airing a television ad on Monday, touting the newspaper endorsements he has received. The ad concludes: “On Tuesday, vote Winslow.”
The third Republican vying for that nomination, former US attorney Michael J. Sullivan, of Abington, stopped at an event in his hometown Saturday afternoon, honoring a veteran of the Korean War before heading to his campaign headquarters to help volunteers makes calls to potential voters.
On his first try, he got the voice mail of a man named Thomas.
“Just calling to let you know I’m on the ballot for April 30,” Sullivan said, leaving a message. After a couple more attempts at other numbers, a woman answered.
“Hi, this is Mike Sullivan. I’m running for United States Senate,” he said. After a brief pause, Sullivan said: “You will? Terrific.” He hung up.
“That was an easy one,” he said, smiling. “I should stop now.”