With polls showing the race for Senate within each candidate’s grasp, Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren scrapped for every last vote on Sunday, barnstorming with spirited rallies where they evoked Massachusetts’ storied past and warned of the high stakes for its future.
“It’s not just about us. It’s about our children. It’s about our grandchildren,” Warren told more than 400 supporters at a rally at Braintree High School. “Because this truly is about whose side America stands on.”
In Faneuil Hall, beneath the logo, “Liberty and Union Now and Forever,” some 700 supporters cheered Brown, who urged them not to go to bed on Tuesday wishing they had done more to help the fight for his reelection, for veterans and small businesses, and against government interference.
“I’m asking you all to go on one final mission,” Brown said. “This is all about getting out the vote. They know it. I know it. The difference is — we’ve got you. We’ve got an army.”
The rallies on each side buzzed with the energy of the home stretch. Crowds of fervent supporters packed the venues, filling them with robust cheers. The candidates’ families beamed from the front rows. Brown’s wife, Gail Huff, and daughters introduced him in Boston; Warren’s husband, Bruce Mann, along with her daughter, son-in-law, and three young grandchildren crowded in for hugs after she spoke.
Brown, whose special-election win in 2010 stunned Democrats, was joined onstage at Faneuil Hall by former governor William F. Weld, a Republican, who recalled campaigning with Brown the weekend before that victory.
“It was man vs. machine then and it’s still man vs. machine,” said Weld. “The machine never rests. The machine never sleeps. All it does is say, ‘I want some more automatic votes for higher taxes.’ ”
Weld, who ran for a Senate seat in 1996, was returning to the hallowed hall where he had debated his rival, US Senator John F. Kerry, 16 years ago. Kerry, too, took to the trail yesterday, joining Warren onstage at her rally in a more modest auditorium, where he was introduced after a string of local officials.
“We can decide who controls the United States Senate,” Kerry said, as he blasted Republicans in the Senate for filibustering. “I want somebody in there who works for America.”
Earlier in the day, Brown took the massive blue bus that has become his traveling campaign headquarters to Mul’s Diner in South Boston. There, former Boston mayor Raymond L. Flynn, a longtime Democrat who endorsed Brown and has campaigned on his behalf for weeks, echoed the bipartisan theme, saying the “People over party” refrain has been resonant since 1960, when Republican John Volpe was elected governor at a time when Massachusetts voters were flocking to the polls to elect Democrat John F. Kennedy president.
“If people voted party, John Volpe would not have been elected governor,” Flynn said. Likewise, “this election is about what’s best for the people. Not what’s best for a political party. And that’s why I think Scott Brown’s going to win.”
Others were more cautious in their projections. “Brown’s got his work cut out for him,” said David Calvani, a Lynnfield resident and Brown supporter who brought his 7-year-old son, Jake, to his first campaign event. “He’s done what he said he was going to do and he deserves to be elected again.”
At Warren’s rally, she begged to differ, casting Brown in the same cloth as his fellow Republicans. She declared, as she has for weeks, that he had voted with Republicans against jobs bills, against equal pay for women, and against mandated insurance coverage for birth control, and that he had pledged to never raise taxes.
“Scott Brown has made clear with his pledge and with his votes, he stands with the millionaires, with the billionaires, with the big oil companies,” Warren said. “Me, I don’t want to go to Washington to work for those guys. They’re doing fine. . . . I want to go to Washington to fight for people who want to work.”
While Republicans kept their focus on Brown and GOP congressional candidate Richard R. Tisei, who is running against US Representative John F. Tierney on the North Shore, Democrats also targeted GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a former governor.
“I am sick and tired of the lies in American politics,” said Kerry, who derided politicians who “say one thing, do another. There’s no one in this nation who has been in more positions on more issues and leaves you questioning what he really believes than Willard Mitt Romney.”