Ed Markey got some help from the vice president today.
Markey, who has represented Massachusetts in the House for 36 years, will face off Tuesday against Republican Gabriel Gomez in the state's Senate special election. Vice President Joe Biden campaigned with him at two events in the Bay State, tying his opponent to notable tea partiers in D.C. and urging Democrats not to take the election for granted.
"This is going to be the most informed freshman senator in the history of the United States of America," Biden said of Markey, before a crowd at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Markey is expected to win - last weekend, a Boston Globe poll found him leading 54 percent to 41 percent - but Biden cautioned against surprises in a low-turnout election.
"Look folks, don't put yourself in a position where you get up Tuesday morning, and it's an incredibly low turnout, and you say, 'Good God, if I'd only gone down one more block, if I'd only made 20 more calls, if I'd only spent a little more energy this wouldn't be the case," Biden said. "This is the first time, in my understanding, that you've ever had a vote for a major office in this state in the middle of June."
The last time Massachusetts held a special Senate election, Democrats missed their chance. Republican Scott Brown flew under the radar for much of his race against Martha Coakley, and a once-bankable Senate seat fell out of the Democratic Party's hands.
Gomez has called himself a "new kind of Republican," but Biden spent much of the day likening him to tea party Republicans who have exerted influence over their party.
"This guy looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck," Biden said earlier in the day, in a similar speech at the Ironworkers Local 7 union hall in South Boston. "That is a new Republican. That's a new Paul Ryan Republican. That's a new Ted Cruz Republican."
Biden challenged Gomez's opposition to the Democratic health care law and suggested he backs the same policies as Republicans in Washington.
"Why does Mitch McConnell want him so badly? Why does Newt Gingrich talk about him like he's the second coming?" Biden asked. "Why does Marco Rubio want him so much? Look at how they vote. Look, I know Mitch McConnell pretty well, and if he wants Gabriel Gomez in his caucus, it's not because he thinks he may ever disagree with him, it's because he wants a Republican majority and because he knows he can count on the guy to vote on everything that he needs."
Markey introduced the vice president at both events.
Between the two appearances, Markey and Biden made a brief stop at Sullivan's Castle Island, a beachfront food stand in South Boston. Upon exiting his limo, Biden asked, "Are there any hot dogs here?"
After working the crowd, he ordered one with mustard and relish.