Two Democratic vice presidents are teaming up to head off a Republican victory in Massachusetts' special Senate election.
The White House says Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore will attend a fundraiser in Washington on Tuesday for Rep. Ed Markey. He's running to replace former Sen. John Kerry, who stepped down to become secretary of state.
Markey won't be at the fundraiser. He'll be participating in a debate in Massachusetts that night.
Democrats have been sending in their biggest players ahead of the June 25 election. President Barack Obama heads to Boston Wednesday; first lady Michelle Obama made the trip last month.
Democrats are hoping to avoid a repeat of 2010, when Republican Scott Brown won a special Senate election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, even though Massachusetts leans heavily Democratic.
Markey's campaign says Vicki Kennedy, the senator's widow, will also attend Tuesday's fundraiser.
The Boston Globe first reported Gore and Biden's appearances.
National Republican groups have been reluctant to devote resources to a race that many Washington-based strategists have thought unwinnable for the GOP. Yet both parties know special elections draw far fewer voters.
And Democrats, already down one Senate seat with the death this week of Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, don't want to appear complacent even as polls suggest a likely victory when voters cast ballots in two weeks.
Gabriel Gomez, the Republican running to replace former Sen. John Kerry, is casting Obama's visit as a sign of the GOP's own fortunes. "Congressman Markey must be feeling some extreme heat to bring in somebody of President Obama's caliber," says Gomez, a former Navy SEAL with no political experience.
Markey, the dean of the state's congressional delegation, has led every public and private poll released in recent weeks. He enjoys the inherent advantages of being a Democrat in a state where Democrats dramatically outnumber Republicans.
But Republicans believe there's an outside chance that they can again eke out a victory over a Democrat in the liberal-leaning state.
Both sides expect a flood of new advertising in the coming days. So far, Democrats have outspent Republicans roughly $2 million to $1.5 million, according to officials who track political advertising.
The Senate Democrats' campaign arm has reserved another $750,000 for statewide television ads to help Markey, while the Democratic-aligned Senate Majority PAC planned to invest another $700,000 in the final weeks. The League of Conservation Voters also has pledged to spend $400,000 on mailings to benefit the Democratic nominee.
Gomez said he's unfazed by the spending. The decisions "to flood Massachusetts with more dirty, negative attacks prove that national Democrats are now in a full-fledged panic," he said.
Gomez has relied on the Massachusetts Republican Party to help pay for his television ads.
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