WORCESTER (AP) — Pointing out contrasts between Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Edward Markey and his opponent, Republican Gabriel Gomez, former President Bill Clinton called on Markey supporters Saturday to vote in the coming special election — and to avoid a repeat of the surprise election result that sent Republican Scott Brown to the Senate in 2010.
Clinton, speaking at a rally at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the state’s second-largest city, was joined by Markey and other Massachusetts Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“You’ve got to make this clear to people,” the former president told a crowd of several hundred. “They’ve got to understand, this is a big deal. Don’t let any person you know refuse to vote on June 25.”
Clinton praised Markey as a man with “ideas that can actually do something,” and laid out the differences between Markey and Gomez on issues including gun control, the economy and taxes. He also assailed the tone of recent elections and the partisanship that has stalled proceedings in Washington.
“We have elections as if it’s just a shouting match,” Clinton said.
Markey, a longtime congressman, and Gomez are vying to fill the Senate seat left vacant by John Kerry to become secretary of State. Clinton, still a popular figure in the party, is among several high-profile Democrats who’ve lent their support to Markey, including President Barack Obama.
Democrats have vowed to avoid a repeat of 2010, when Brown unexpectedly beat state Attorney General Martha Coakley in a U.S. Senate special election. Democrats won the seat back when Warren defeated Brown in November.
Gomez, a businessman and Navy SEAL, held what he called Latino Town Hall in Southbridge on Saturday. He addressed a crowd of about 50 people for about an hour, answering questions in both English and Spanish, a Gomez spokesman said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.