BROCKTON—Senate candidates Gabriel E. Gomez and Edward J. Markey spent their final day on the campaign trail making frantic appeals to voters in dozens of stops from Springfield to Lawrence.
At nearly every stop, they pleaded with supporters to get to the polls to help combat a lack of interest in the special election.
Gabriel E. Gomez, swooped into George’s Café in Brockton, encouraging diners to cast their ballots and make sure their friends, too, get out to vote.
“They’re predicting this, like, superlow turnout. I’ll tell you what: I think our side is going to turn out big,” the Cohasset Republican told the small crowd they nibbled on steaming plates of spaghetti and garlic bread.
Gomez was bullish on his prospects, despite recent polling showing him trailing his opponent, Democrat Edward J. Markey. A poll released today showed Gomez 10 points behind Markey.
“This won’t be an upset if I win because I’ve been predicting it the whole time,” he told reporters at the restaurant.
Gomez said he did not know whether the low turnout would help him or hurt him.
“I’ve never done this before, so I think you’d have to ask a career politician about that answer,” he said.
But in an ominous sign for Gomez, Secretary of State William F. Galvin estimated that just 1.6 million of the state’s 4.3 million voters will show up at the polls.
That figure is down from about 3.2 million who cast ballots in the November 2012 race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren and 2.3 million in the January 2010 special election between Brown and Martha Coakley.
“There just hasn’t been an interest in the race,’’ Galvin said at a State House press conference.
In Worcester, Ed Markey stopped to shake hands at the Pickle Barrel diner and said he didn’t think voters would tune out election to follow the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.
“I think that, in Massachusetts, there’s two things that people think about, sports and politics, and I think they do both every day.”
Markey, in shirtsleeves and khakis, went booth-to-booth in the diner, encouraging patrons to urge their family members to vote. As he left, he paid for a Coke and bottled water with a $10 bill and appeared to collect no change.
In Lawrence, which has played a centerpiece in his campaign narrative because his father grew up here, Markey visited two barbershops, an SEIU gathering, and a flower-and-balloon shop.
At Mendez Flowerloons, co-owner Zoa Mendez, 60, presented Markey with a single red rose, which he used as a campaign prop with the SEIU crowd outside.
“Roses are red, violets are blue, I love the SEIU!” Markey yelled, to applause.
South of Boston in Braintree this afternoon, Gomez strolled along a commercial strip greeting voters as he waited for a Mediterranean chicken plate to be cooked at a local restaurant.
When he came upon Vaughn Haynes, 18, sitting on a bench smoking a cigarette in the heat, Gomez encouraged Haynes to vote for him.
“Mr. Gomez, why should I vote for you?” Haynes asked.
Gomez said his opponent had been in Congress probably twice as long as Haynes has even been alive.
“Thirty-seven years is too long for that guy to be down there,” Gomez said.
Later, Haynes, who said he voted for President Obama in 2012, said he was inclined to vote for Gomez.
“He’s the only person I’ve seen out,” he said.
The candidates are set to end the day with larger evening rallies. Gomez will appear with former US Senator Scott Brown this evening in Quincy, while Markey is holding a rally in his hometown of Malden.