BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gabriel Gomez and Democrat Edward Markey are gearing up for their second debate as President Barack Obama prepares to visit Massachusetts to whip up support for Markey in Massachusetts’ special U.S. Senate election.
The one-hour Springfield debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the studios of WGBY-TV and will be broadcast live. It’s expected to include questions important to the western part of the state.
Watch: WBZ-TV Senate Debate
The pressure is on Gomez to give voters a compelling reason to support a Republican candidate in a state that typically elects Democrats while Markey must persuade voters that he still has fresh ideas after spending more than three decades as a member of the state’s U.S. House delegation.
The debate comes a day after a Suffolk University poll showed Markey has the backing of 48 percent of voters polled compared with 41 percent for Gomez.
The Suffolk University poll, which also had 10 percent of voters still undecided, shows Markey’s lead has narrowed compared with a Suffolk poll taken about a month ago. That poll found 52 percent favoring Markey and 35 percent backing Gomez.
Markey is hoping Obama — who is still viewed favorably by 60 percent of those polled according to Suffolk — will help him beat Gomez two weeks from now in the special election.
Obama is scheduled to visit Boston on Wednesday to attend a rally for Markey at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in the city’s Roxbury neighborhood.
The new poll of 500 voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points and was conducted June 6-9. One percent of those polled declined to answer while less than 1 percent backed Twelve Visions Party candidate Richard Heos.
A final debate sponsored by a consortium of Boston media outlets will be held at WGBH-TV on June 18.
The election to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the resignation of John Kerry to become Secretary of State is June 25.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.