Wednesday is the last day to register to vote in the U.S. Senate special election as the candidates prepare for their first debate tonight.
Voters who want to cast ballots in the June 25 special election must complete paperwork with their city or town clerk by 8 p.m.
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The race between Democratic U.S. Congressman Ed Markey and GOP hopeful Gabriel Gomez, a businessman and former Navy SEAL, has been a largely quiet affair by Massachusetts standards.
Stonehill College political science professor Peter N. Ubertaccio told the Boston Globe that voter apathy benefits Markey.
"The contours favor Markey and nothing has changed that since the beginning of the race," Ubertaccio said. "He has maintained the lead. I read the lack of interest as a boon for him."
Most polls show Markey ahead, most recently a survey released Tuesday by New England College showing Markey leading Gomez 52 percent to 40 percent among likely voters.
Only eight percent of those polled by NEC said they were undecided.
"Ed Markey is running out the clock," Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey M. Berry told the Globe. "He is ahead and is being extraordinarily cautious not to make any mistakes that could generate enthusiasm for Gomez. He is hunkered down, campaigning in safe venues in front of Democratic audiences."
President Barack Obama was expected to campaign for Markey in Boston next Wednesday, as first lady Michelle Obama did last week.
Gomez has not received the same kind of high-profile support from the GOP.
"The national Republican Party has seemed to have given him the back of its hand," said Berry. "They have said things that are reassuring, but the big hitters in Washington are not working to inject funds into his lagging campaign."
Tonight's debate begins at 7 p.m. It will be broadcast on WBZ-TV and WBZ NewsRadio, which is co-sponsoring the event along with the Globe.
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