By: Andy McKeever On: 10:40PM / Friday June 21, 2013
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite leading in the polls before the special election for the U.S. Senate, Democratic candidate Edward Markey isn’t coasting the final four days because “overconfidence breeds complacency and complacency breeds disaster.”
He is on a tight schedule through Tuesday that took him Friday to the Berkshire Brigades’ offices, where he was joined by Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and a large group of Democratic leaders and elected officials.
“I don’t feel confident. You can’t feel that way. It’s like asking the Bruins ‘are you going to win the Stanley Cup?’ they don’t know,” Markey said before entering a full room of supporters. “You have to keep at a high level of intensity just so you maximize the result on election night. Then you can celebrate. Then you can relax.”
The congressman from Malden is running for the seat vacated by John Kerry, who accepted appointment as U.S. secretary of state. Being a special election and held on an atypical election schedule, voter turnout is expected to be the biggest concern for Democrats.
“For the final four days it is all about getting out the vote,” Markey said. “I want to win out here. I am trying to get up the enthusiasm, get the troops out there and make sure that people get out and vote Tuesday.”
Auditor Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington said Democrats are not competing with the Republicans but rather “apathy.”
She said the decision of who to vote for is easy because Markey has “already demonstrated his values.” But Democrats need to “take it to the streets” in order to win the election, she said.
“This is not a leap of faith when we cast this vote. This is a vote of confidence,” Bump said. Republican competitor Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset has been positioning himself as a fresh face and has criticized Markey for being a career politician. Markey was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1974.
But all of the speakers rallied behind representative’s 38-year record in expanding broadband access, support for social programs and protecting the environment.
“New isn’t always better. Being better is better,” Patrick said. “Being right on the issues is better. Seeing us all, not just the mighty but the meek is better. Voting right on the issues, that’s better. Caring about lifting the commonweath and the country up, that’s better. Putting national interest before party or partisan interest, that’s better.”
Patrick received roaring applause from the crowd of about 150 people sporting in Markey campaign stickers. He said Markey knows what it takes to give the opportunity for the American dream.
“The American dream requires personal responsibility, grit, determination and resilience — all the things we often hear our conservative friends talk about — self-reliance. They’re right,” Patrick said. “But the American dream also requires a good education. It also requires affordable health care and a safe neighborhood.
“It also requires a clean environment and true and equal opportunity. All of those things make the American dream possible and we fight for good government because good government makes those things possible.”
Markey said building the American dream means to look to the future, as he has done in the past when he has “sided with companies that did not exist yet.” He is supportive of furthering technology and making Massachusetts the “biotech capital of the world.”
“This race is about the future and we have to make sure we protect and advance it,” Markey said.
Neal, who has worked with Markey the longest and would be come the dean of the congressional delegation if Markey wins, said his colleague has always been looking toward the future.
“Those of us who are his peers, know how good he is,” Neal said. “He is kind, he is decent and he is a great legislator.”
Also speaking were state Reps. Paul Mark and Tricia Farley-Bouvier, state Sen. Benjamin Downing and Mayor Daniel Bianchi. The office was filled with elected officials — including North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, District Attorney David Capeless, City Council President Kevin Sherman and Register of Deeds Patsy Harris — and local Democratic leaders.
“We need to be with Ed Markey because time after time, Ed Markey has been with us,” Patrick said.
The special Senate election is Tuesday, June 25, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Also on the ballot is Twelve Visions Party canddiate Richard A. Heos.