U.S. Senate candidates Martha Coakley and Scott Brown visited the South Shore during the final frenzied weekend of the campaign.
For Martha Coakley and Scott Brown, the campaigning is just about over.
In less than 24 hours, voters will go to the polls across Massachusetts to decide who is going to Washington to finish the un-expired term of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died last summer.
The polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Independent Joseph Kennedy of Dedham, who is no relation to the late senator’s family, is also a candidate.
Brown, a Republican, and Coakley, a Democrat, both visited Quincy and Plymouth during the final frenzied weekend of the campaign. It was Brown’s “Bold New Leadership Bus Tour” versus Coakley’s “Fighting For You” rallies.
What had been a ho-hum race – Coakley had been considered a shoo-in – turned this past week into a hot contest of national importance. Reacting to some polls that have put Brown ahead, President Obama was in Boston on Sunday to try to energize Democrats.
The election is seen by many as a test of Obama’s popularity and a referendum on his domestic policy, most importantly on his health care legislation. Brown has promised to vote against the bill.
Brown, a state senator from Wrentham, would be the first Massachusetts Republican elected to the U. S. Senate since 1972. Republican Ed Brooke left office in 1979.
Sen. Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Kennedy, told Coakley supporters at the Quincy headquarters of the National Association of Government Employees that Coakley would carry on the ideals the late senator fought for during his 47 years in the Senate.
“Ted always said elections are about the future,” Vicki Kennedy said. “This (election) is about our future and our children’s future. The eyes of the country are on us.”
U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, D-Quincy, joined Coakley on her campaign stop in the city. Delahunt said Obama needs support from lawmakers, like Coakley, to correct the mistakes of the Bush administration.
Quincy Republican and former Mayor Frank McCauley said Sunday in a telephone interview that Brown’s popularity in the polls reflects voters’ rejection of Obama’s direction for the country.
“I think Scott Brown’s support goes across party lines,” McCauley said.
Both candidates need to win with independent, or unenrolled, voters who make up the majority in Massachusetts.
On Saturday, McCauley introduced former Gov. William Weld, who showed up at the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy for an outdoor rally for Brown.
“I had never seen anything like it,” McCauley said. “The crowd was wild. Everyone wanted to shake his (Brown) hand and pat him on the back. They were so animated.”
McCauley said November elections in which a Republican defeated a Democrat for governor in Virginia and a GOP candidate ousted an incumbent Democratic governor in New Jersey were strikes one and two against the president.
“We want Scott Brown’s election to be strike three,” McCauley said.
Dennis Tatz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.