Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren stake out vital turf

Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren made frantic final appeals to a few of those key areas Monday, hugging babies and holding rallies in places such as Framingham, Worcester, and Fall River.
Steven Senne/Associated Press
Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren made frantic final appeals to a few of those key areas Monday, hugging babies and holding rallies in places such as Framingham, Worcester, and Fall River.

WORCESTER ­­— Just as the presidential election may turn on Ohio, Florida, and other battleground states, the Massachusetts Senate race has its own crucial communities that Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren will be counting on to help them roll to victory on Tuesday.

After spending about $70 million combined to influence voters, Brown and Warren made frantic final appeals to a few of those key areas Monday, hugging babies and holding rallies in places such as Framingham, Worcester, and Fall River.

Brown, fighting what he characterized as a determined Democratic machine, was pushing to win big in towns along Interstate 495 such as North Attleborough and ­Marlborough, while minimizing losses in urban centers such as Boston.


Warren was working to win big in Boston and Worcester, while trying to stay competitive in the conservative towns surrounding Springfield and New Bedford, where Brown rolled up large margins in the 2010 special election.

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Brown’s travels on his final day of campaigning were an ode to suburbs and blue-collar cities.

Riding a campaign bus, he made nine stops that took him from Lynn to Worcester, to his hometown of Wrentham for one last evening rally in a function hall where he has marked important moments in his ­political career.

At Lake Pearl Luciano’s, he stood with his wife before several hundred supporters, a scene similar to the one just prior to his 2010 victory and on the night of his election to the state Senate in 2004.

“You know Scott Brown. You’re his neighbors; you’re his friends,” Brown’s wife, Gail Huff, said.


Throughout the day, Brown pounded the message that he is best equipped to break gridlock in Washington.

“The energy level feels even greater than 2010,” Brown told volunteers at a Walpole campaign office, hoping to summon the groundswell of enthusiasm that characterized the last heady days of his 2010 campaign. Still, he cast himself as an underdog.

“It’s a numbers game at this point,” he said. “It’s the peoples’ army versus the machine.”

Warren, too, held a series of minirallies Monday, vowing to fight for the middle class in the mold of Edward M. Kennedy, the late liberal whose seat Brown won in a victory that continues to sting the Democratic establishment.

Standing with Warren outside a Dorchester coffee shop, two of Kennedy’s sons, Edward Jr. and Patrick, the former Rhode Island congressman, said Warren would carry on the Kennedy family’s fight for the less powerful.


She ended the night with an outdoor rally before hundreds of supporters, many of them union members waving campaign signs, in West Roxbury.

“This is what it all comes down to, all the hard work,” she said, standing on a platform and looking out at the crowd. “Out here I see people who have been at this for more than a year now. We’ve made phone calls. We’ve held signs. We’ve knocked on doors. . . . We’ve done it all, but it comes down to one day.”

Warren is hoping her grassroots efforts, backed by volunteers and union members, will help her stay competitive in conservative-leaning suburban communities Tuesday, just as Governor Deval Patrick did in 2010 when he defeated Republican Charles D. Baker.

Boston is shaping up to be a particularly heated battleground.

Warren wants to win at least 70 percent of the vote in Boston, not out of the question, given that Democrat ­Martha Coakley won 69 percent of the vote in the city in her loss to Brown in 2010.

Brown has been fighting to make inroads in Boston, spending time and money in West Roxbury, South Boston, and Charlestown and campaigning frequently with former mayor Raymond L. Flynn.

Warren has harnessed ­Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s vaunted political operation to drive up turnout, particularly in minority and blue-collar neighborhoods.

To be sure, Warren needs to perform well in the South End, Jamaica Plain, and other liberal enclaves.

But she is also focused on winning working-class neighborhoods such as Neponset in Dorchester, which Brown won in 2010.

Secretary of State William F. Galvin predicted record turnout Tuesday of as many as 3.2 million, or about 100,000 more than showed up for the last presidential election, in 2008.

That would also be about 1 million more votes than were cast in the 2010 special Senate election.

Warren’s camp considers the forecast of high turnout good news, a sign that she will benefit from the Democratic Party’s advantage in registration and organization.

In Hampden County, for ­example, Brown won every town except for Springfield and Holyoke in 2010, said Rob Gray, a veteran Republican consultant.

But turnout in Springfield was very low that year, about 32 percent, compared with about 54 percent statewide.

So if turnout, as predicted, increases in Springfield Tuesday, and Warren carries the city by at least the same margin as Coakley, she can rack up thousands of additional votes, diminishing the impact of Brown’s victories in the surrounding towns.

In one positive sign for ­Warren, she was ahead in two final polls of so-called bellwether communities, Gloucester and Waltham, that Suffolk University released Monday.

Suffolk considers those communities bellwethers ­because the results there mirrored the statewide results in the last three Senate elections that coincided with presidential elections.

In Waltham, Warren was ahead, 5o percent to 47 percent, according to the poll.

In Gloucester, she was up, 53 percent to 45 percent. Both polls had margins of error of plus or minus 5.65 percentage points.

Mark Arsenault of the Globe
staff contributed to this report.
Noah Bierman can be reached
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Michael Levenson
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