BOSTON (CBS) – Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy were looking to sway undecided voters in the final hours of their race in the Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary. Both say high turnout would help in their race, which is expected to be a tight one.
“I’m treating tomorrow like it’s game seven of the World Series,” Markey said. “There’s nothing guaranteed. I view it as being tied three-to-three and I have to do everything I can in order to work for and earn a victory tomorrow.”
“We’re banking on people turning out across the state,” said Kennedy. “We’re banking on people that, for a variety of reasons, either haven’t felt comfortable voting by mail, still have questions about voting by mail, but are accustomed to vote in person. I’ve always known that the core aspect of our support was going to be an election day vote.”
Kennedy, the 39-year-old challenger, has tried to cast Markey as a bureaucratic progressive, not suited to the street level activism needed to create change today.
But the 74-year-old incumbent has stressed his accomplishments and rebooted his image with endorsements from young progressive firebrands like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Young people are rallying to our side, joining older generations,” Markey said.
Both men are well known and well-liked and stake out the same turf on many issues and both campaigns were forced into tight windows by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Feeling good,” Kennedy said. “Could use a nap, but if you’re not tired at this point you’re not doing it right.”
Three recent polls show Markey with a lead of anywhere between seven and 12 points, even as the Kennedy camp still argues its neck-and-neck.
Despite the pandemic, and controversy over mail-in voting, Secretary of State William Galvin predicts record turnout for a primary election. “We’re having an election tomorrow, I think under the most unusual circumstances,” Galvin said.
But election officials say most ballots have already been cast. By Monday morning, more than 850,000 were in, leaving an estimated 400,000 voting between today and the close of polls Tuesday.
For those voting in person, some cities and towns have set up different voting locations to allow for distancing. Galvin says it’s a good idea to check on your polling place beforehand, and he says people should not bring filled-in mail-in ballots.
“They either have to vote in person at that time, or if they wish they can make sure their ballot gets to the local office…or take it to a drop box today,” said Galvin. “that is the best case.”