As voters prepare to head to the polls Tuesday, the US Senate candidates are scrambling to motivate a tiny fraction of the electorate, most of them core party activists they believe will turn out in a low-profile election, when most of the public’s attention is still riveted on the Marathon bombings and the ensuing investigation.
Edward J. Markey, the veteran congressman from Malden who is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, is focused on liberal enclaves across the state as he faces a spirited challenge from US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, a centrist and former labor leader.
The two are engaged in a traditional Democratic Party fight that pits working- and middle-class voters against professional, suburban liberals. Lynch is looking to a strong turnout in more conservative, blue-collar Democratic communities, while Markey is counting heavily on his appeal to the progressive base that dominates party primaries.
In the Republican contest, the socially and fiscally conservative candidate, former prosecutor Michael J. Sullivan, is vying against two social moderates: Gabriel E. Gomez, a Cohasset businessman and former Navy SEAL, and two-term state Representative Daniel B. Winslow of Norfolk, a former district court judge.
While the GOP race will turn on who can pick up more of about 150,000 Republican votes expected to be cast in the primary, the Democratic contest may well hinge on whether Markey has been able to reassemble the formidable field organization that Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign and the Obama presidential team created in Massachusetts last year.
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