- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley revved up their get-out-the-vote engines Saturday as the tight race to succeed Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick neared its end.

The major party candidates made multiple campaign stops on a rainy, windy day, imploring supporters to knock on doors, make phone calls and otherwise persuade voters to go the polls on Tuesday.

Democrats have typically enjoyed an organizational edge in Massachusetts elections, particularly in urban areas of the state. Baker, who held a slight edge over Coakley in most recent public opinion polls, was intent on closing the organizational gap. Coakley said she believed her party’s vaunted “ground game” would help deliver the decisive votes.

The Republican, meanwhile, said he believed his opponent’s campaign was resorting to desperate tactics, a charge the Democrat dismissed.

“We are way inside the red zone folks and now we have to get into the end zone,” Baker told about 200 party loyalists at an indoor rally in Springfield, employing a football metaphor for a team that is close to scoring but hasn’t yet.

He was joined at the gathering by other Republican candidates, including running mate Karyn Polito and U.S. Senate contender Brian Herr, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Edward Markey.

Baker noted that his campaign was using computer technology modeled after that used by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 to try to compete with the state’s Democratic organization.

During an afternoon event in Framingham - originally billed as a “motorcycle rally” but scaled back due to the driving rain - an upbeat Coakley urged a roomful of backers to use “every minute you can, every hour you can … to get out the vote” in the closing days.

The campaign, which has grown heated in recent weeks, took several unexpected turns in the last few days. Both candidates canceled public events - Baker for two days and Coakley for 24 hours - following the death Thursday of former longtime Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Coakley on Friday went to New Bedford, where she raised questions about the authenticity of a tearful story Baker told during Tuesday’s final televised debate concerning a New Bedford fisherman who regretted pressuring his two sons to eschew college football scholarships and instead continue the family fishing tradition.

Baker has insisted the story is true, though he has acknowledged that some details might be wrong. On Saturday, he suggested the flap was a sign of Democrats becoming desperate.

“I absolutely think there is desperation on their side,” he told reporters. “I think the other side is trying hard to change the subject because their message isn’t resonating.”

Coakley disagreed.

“Well once again (Baker’s) totally wrong,” she said. “I cannot feel more confident about our message.”

Her campaign continued to press Baker on the fisherman controversy, releasing a video Saturday it said it had uncovered from Baker’s unsuccessful 2010 campaign against Patrick, which shows him telling supporters a story about an encounter with a fisherman that had some similarities to the story he told at the debate, but with different details.

Both Coakley and Baker were expected to stop by a public wake for Menino at Boston’s Faneuil Hall on Sunday. Coakley is the state’s attorney general; Baker is a former health care CEO and state budget chief.

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