SPRINGFIELD – Two days before voters choose a new US Senator, the candidates crisscrossed Massachusetts today, making a final effort to rally the electorate.
Republican Senate nominee Gabriel E. Gomez rolled from the Western part of the state toward the east today, trying to motivate his supporters to vote on Tuesday, despite polls showing him lagging behind US Representative Edward J. Markey.
Gomez’s stops included a Latin bakery in Chicopee, a veteran-owned bakery in Springfield, a family-style restaurant in the conservative Springfield suburb of Agawam, and a planned rally in Boston’s North End with Mike Milbury, a former player and coach for the Boston Bruins.
Meanwhile, Markey encouraged enthusiastic supporters at a campaign office in Lynn and at a restaurant function hall in Lowell to make a big final campaign push. Surrounded by Democratic elected officials, he exhorted supporters to make a strong get-out-the-vote effort between now and when the polls close on Tuesday in a what is expected to be a low-turnout special election.
“Ladies and gentleman, let us get out there: ring the doorbells, hold the signs, make the calls, get out the vote!” Markey said to about 50 volunteers packed into the small office in Lynn this morning, US Representative John Tierney standing by his side.
Markey was also set to make stops in Waltham, Framingham and Worcester today to kickoff canvassing efforts there.
Gomez, at each of his visits this morning and early this afternoon, bounded enthusiastically from his campaign’s black SUV, shook hands with voters, and encouraged them to show up at the polls on Tuesday.
At Sal’s Bakery & Café in Springfield, which is owned by Sal Circosta, a 27-year-old Army National Guard veteran, Gomez spoke to about three dozen supporters, assuring them “the good guy is going to win.”
“I couldn’t be more excited about where we are now,” Gomez told the crowd. “These polls go up and down, but I know that our message is resonating with independents, Democrats and Republicans out there. And on Tuesday night, they’re going to see that a wave just hit them. And they should have seen it coming.”
At the Fifties Diner, in Chicopee, Gomez predicted victory on Tuesday, but sounded a valedictory note as he reflected on the experience of running in his first major race for elected office.
“I ran a clean race,” he said. “I can look myself in the mirror and know that I ran an honorable race and I’m proud of that.”
In Lowell, Markey spoke to about 100 people at a function hall in the Pailin City restaurant. The largely Cambodian-American audience listened intently, and, after Markey finished, a man translated part of his remarks into Khmer, the Cambodian language.
Explaining his own family’s immigrant history, Markey said he would champion immigration reform, a position that received loud and sustained applause.
Markey was introduced by former Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, who told a reporter that after months of work, the last three days of grassroots organizing were essential.
“Getting the machinery up and running is very important,” Dukakis said, noting that a portion the electorate remains unaware that the special is in two days. “You know, I’m still running into people that don’t know it’s Tuesday,” Dukakis said. “That’s why this field operation is just so important.”