GLENN DALE, Md. – Saying the outcome of Tuesday's elections could depend on voter turnout, politicians in both parties raced Sunday to urge supporters to come to the polls.
Declaring his campaign has momentum, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele announced he would campaign around the clock. He went bowling in Ellicott City at 11 p.m., stopped at an all-night diner in Catonsville, and visited a cafe in Hagerstown around dawn on Monday.
"We are going to shake Washington up and I am not going to rest until we get that message out to every person in Maryland," Steele said in a statement released by his campaign Sunday evening.
• Check Your State, Check Your Race by clicking BALANCE OF POWER dropdown menu above.
Earlier Sunday, the Maryland campaigns drew national stars to rally voters. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani headlined a rally for Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich. On the Democratic side, former President Clinton attended a late-night rally for Rep. Benjamin Cardin , who is running for Senate, and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who is challenging Ehrlich.
All the candidates sprinted for votes with less than 48 hours to go before polls opened. They went to churches in the morning, sometimes two or three, and met with supporters in the most populous areas of the state, Baltimore and the Washington suburbs.
Ehrlich's running mate, Kristen Cox, summed up the stakes Sunday night at the Giuliani event in Glenn Dale. "Sleep and food," she said, "they're optional in the next two days."
Giuliani, standing in front of two fire trucks and an enormous American flag, reiterated that turnout would likely decide the races for governor and Senate.
"We need you to work and get out the vote. Don't take anything for granted," he told about 100 Ehrlich supporters.
The races appeared tight.
A poll released Sunday showed O'Malley and Ehrlich were in a virtual tie, with both getting 45 percent of the vote among 625 likely voters interviewed by phone Nov. 1-3 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C. for McClatchy-MSNBC. The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Another poll by Mason-Dixon also indicated a close race between Cardin and Republican Steele. Cardin led 47 percent to 44 percent, within the sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, in interviews of 625 registered voters interviewed by phone between Nov. 1-3.
At the Democratic rally, Clinton blasted Republicans for disseminating a handbook that advises Republican poll watchers on how to spot election fraud. While Republicans have said they simply are guarding against possible fraud in Maryland's close races, Democrats have accused them of engaging in voter suppression tactics.
Clinton told Republicans: "if you care anything about what America stands for, renounce this voter suppression strategy."
Cardin also pleaded with about 1,000 voters at a church to come to the polls. Cardin said high turnout crucial. "We need to get the vote out. That's our imperative," Cardin said.
Steele, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," said he was appealing to Maryland residents to vote for him — not because of his party or because of his race — but because he intends to make a difference in Washington.
"I've not come to them as a Republican or a Democrat, as an African-American, or anything other than who I am, and that is someone who believes in public service, who wants to go to Washington to try his best to make a difference in a town that has forgotten where people live and how they live and what they go through every day," Steele said.
Cardin, who was invited to take part on the program, did not participate. Like Steele, he spent much of Sunday campaigning in Prince George's County, a political battleground. Cardin was scheduled to attend a Democratic rally in the county seat, where former Clinton and O'Malley were scheduled to appear.
On Sunday afternoon, O'Malley's running mate, Delegate Anthony Brown, told several dozen people at a Hispanic voters' rally in Prince George's that a large turnout is key to Democratic success.
"Don't go to the polls alone. Take 10 people with you," he said.
Supporters of both O'Malley and Ehrlich predicted a big show of support for their sides on Tuesday. They all appeared confident their guy would win.
"I hear a lot of people talking about going to vote," said Mayra Bayonet, of Gaithersburg, who was at the Hispanic Democrats rally. "I think we are going to win this time."
Equally assured of victory was Ken Carroll, of Annapolis, at the Giuliani-Ehrlich rally.
"I think it was Ehrlich's to lose, and he's run a good campaign," Carroll said.