Massachusetts Senate Election Draws All Eyes Three Weeks Out

As for the debate, Duffy said Gomez is "pretty untested" in this form, but that might not be all bad.

"Markey's biggest liability is that he's been [in Congress] 36 years and when you put the two of them together, side by side, the contrast is fairly striking," Duffy noted. "Markey looks like a guy that has been there 36 years."

Marsh, the Democratic operative, says it's turnout that is essential, but says because of the makeup of the state, "what the Democrats have that the Republicans don't is the Democrats have an ability to turn out voters." But universities are already out for the year, something that could have helped Markey.

Marsh added that Republicans do have the "die hard" voters "that will turn out no matter what" and Democrats are not taking anything for granted.

"The Democratic base has to turn out and enough unenrolled voters have to turn out," Marsh said.

"It's a 'Get Out the Vote' operation on steroids that determines this election for Markey. That's what needs to happen and that's what they are working on."

This story has been updated since it was first posted.

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