With public interest in the race low statewide and with recent polls showing Mr. Markey’s advantage in the race in the high single digits, both candidates scrambled to keep the criticisms against them from calcifying as the race marches into its final two weeks.
“These debates aren’t game-changers, but they help with messaging,” says Spencer Kimball, a campaign consultant who also teaches in the communication studies department at Emerson College in Boston. Mr. Gomez in particular, he says, “has tightened up his message to voters” since his fresh-faced arrival onto the political scene in the primary campaign earlier this year.
Indeed, Gomez’s message was easy to identify Tuesday night. He spoke several times of placing “people above party and politics” and putting fresh legs on the field in Washington D.C. He needled Markey repeatedly for his 37 years in Congress, noting that when the congressman was first elected in 1976, Gerald Ford was president and Gomez himself was an 11-year-old playing Little League.
“I’m sorry, sir,” he said, repeating a favorite line, “but you are Washington, D.C.”
As the debate skimmed across gun control, taxes, national security, and equal pay, Gomez frequently refused to tie himself to a specific promise or position, instead arguing that he would consider each issue as it came before him – regardless of the GOP line.