WAKEFIELD — On a sweltering Friday evening, Edward J. Markey walked briskly through a half-empty playground, extending a hand to a few parents as they watched their children romp. “Can I say hello? I’m Congressman Markey. Can I say hello?” he said. He spent only a few seconds with each and did not pause to reminisce with a young mother who said she knew Markey and was from Malden, his hometown.
“Great,” he said, without delving into their shared connection. “So I’d ask for your help,” he said, and moved on. “The election is in 25 days.”
But Markey’s reserve melted away when he spotted a white van emblazoned with decals for Choco Tacos and Cherry Explosions.
“Oh, an ice cream truck!” he exclaimed, as he recalled his college days slinging Beatle Bars and Fudgsicles from a nearly identical truck. “That’s unbelievable. I drove this for four years. Do you have a juice stick?” he said, bounding up to the window.
Markey, the Democratic nominee for Senate, is leading in the polls; has raised more money than his Republican opponent, Gabriel E. Gomez; and, perhaps most importantly, is buoyed by a formidable machine powered by hundreds of loyal activists.
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