LOWELL — Hoping voters will hearken to their pleas, the candidates for governor and Senate raced around Massachusetts Monday, exuding confidence, pressing palms, and making their last, best pitches hours before Election Day.
Or as Governor Charlie Baker put it coming out a black SUV to greet voters here at the venerable Owl Diner: “Showtime!”
With surveys finding Baker and Senator Elizabeth Warren with big leads in their respective races, both still leaned hard into retail politicking ahead of Tuesday’s elections. Meanwhile, their underdog opponents said the groundswells of support they’ve been feeling may yet prove the pollsters and pundits dead wrong.
“The polls aren’t picking up on a lot of the energy that’s out there,” Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jay Gonzalez told a phalanx of journalists after shaking hands in a Somerville coffee shop, and before heading to Malden to pick up a chicken wrap at a cafe.
“If you believed the polls, Hillary Clinton would be president right now,” GOP Senate nominee Geoff Diehl told reporters before grabbing a breakfast of two eggs over easy, corned beef hash, and a small orange juice at a Quincy greasy spoon.
The hopefuls stuck to friendly territory for the most part. Warren rallied the party faithful at get-out-the-vote events from Lynn to Lowell, while Baker greeted supporters at an oceanfront restaurant in his hometown of Swampscott.
Not far from his residence in Needham, Gonzalez, a former state budget chief and evangelist for fixing the “broken” MBTA, began his day at the Riverside T stop in Newton, hopping on a Green Line train to get to Boston.
A few moments later the announcement came: This train is disabled. Everyone got on a nearby train that soon began moving toward Government Center.
“We’ve accepted this substandard system,” Gonzalez said to one of his fellow riders, Bryce Turner, a 23-year-old Wayland resident. “We shouldn’t have to.”
Turner, who said he’s not enrolled in either party, is “pretty sure” he’ll vote for Gonzalez on Election Day.
Later, at Diesel Cafe in Somerville’s Davis Square, Gonzalez worked the shop talking to just about every person there, and found lots of support.
Belmont resident Elizabeth Albert, 53, was one of those backing him.
Why? “I’m a lifelong Democrat” who supports the party’s values, she said.
Diehl, a state representative hoping to unseat Warren, shook hands with voters in a popular breakfast spot in Quincy late Monday morning.
“I hope I can have your support,” the Republican said to Celeste Walsh of Weymouth as she stood near the front counter. “Oh you do,” said Walsh, who came to McKay’s Breakfast and Lunch just to see the candidate. He invited her to his election night watch party.
“I think he’s just an all-around great guy,” said Walsh, who said she typically votes Republican.
Later, Diehl visited with about a dozen residents of the Arbors Assisted Living facility in Stoneham.
“I thought your ad was very good,” 99-year-old Alice Scofield told him as she was seated at one of the tables in the residence’s small “pub” area. She told him she’s “very excited about this election.” He asked her if she had already voted.
“I voted two weeks ago,” said Scofield, who confirmed she cast her early ballot for Diehl in the Senate race.
The incumbents also rallied on favorable ground.
At the diner in Lowell, Baker worked the crowd with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. It added up to 45 minutes of selfies, handshakes, and back-slapping as the two officials moved from table to booth.
“The economy is humming. Keep it going,” William Scholl, 62, told Baker.
Later at the Lowell Senior Center, Baker was greeted like a rock star. Fran Vadeboncoeur told the governor that as a girl, she once shook the hand of then-Senator John F. Kennedy — before, of course, he became president.
“That’s a lot cooler than shaking mine,” Baker said.
“You might become president someday,” the 75-year-old Lowell resident told him.
“I’m just looking forward to tomorrow,” he said.
As Baker exchanged pleasantries, Barbara Forant sidled up next to the governor for a photo. As they put their arms around each other, the group howled with laughter: The 6-foot-6 governor was nearly two feet taller than Forant, who stands at 4 feet, 8 inches.
Baker told an iPhone-wielding photographer to hold on.
He grabbed a nearby chair, slid it under his right knee and crouched down. Forant, now at eye level with Baker’s shoulder, beamed.
“Can I vote for you twice?” the 73-year-old asked him.
Warren, for her part, rallied with Gonzalez and other Democrats inside a Lynn campaign office Monday afternoon.
“Democracy is not for sale!” she boomed into a microphone that suddenly, 20 minutes into speeches, started to give out.
“I just burned that one up,” Warren joked, sending the crowd into more cheers.
Afterward, supporters snaked along one of the walls to take a photo with Warren, Gonzalez and state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump. Lisa Whyte, 55, hopped to the dais, handed Warren a small white bag and embraced her.
Inside, was an infinity scarf with Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” written into the fabric, she said.
“She’s the hardest working woman on the planet as far as I’m concerned. And this is someone who did their 12 hours a day in the office,” said Whyte, an unenrolled Lynn voter who said she left her job in private equity in December to commit to helping campaigns, attend marches, and “work in any capacity I am needed.”
“I didn’t do anything for the last 40 years because I didn’t need to,” she said. “Now we’re all woke.”
Later on, as evening fell in Lowell, Warren stepped out to chants of “Persist!” at a canvass kick-off. After her rally-the-troops speech, the senator — who also faces independent Shiva Ayyadurai of Belmont — stayed behind to take pictures with supporters, as she does after every appearance.
Two women decided the line for a picture with Warren was too long and headed to the door. One turned to her companion and assured her: “We’ll do our picture with her when she’s president.”Reach Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach Stout at email@example.com Reach McGrane at firstname.lastname@example.org