updated 9/18/2006 12:00:23 PM ET 2006-09-18T16:00:23

Chris Gabrieli visited a South Boston diner, Deval Patrick planned a lunchtime walk through Downtown Crossing and Tom Reilly was appearing with elected officials across the state as the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates wrapped up their primary campaigns Monday.

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Gabrieli, running second in recent polling, stopped by Mul's Diner in Southie before heading west to Springfield and then working his way to Holyoke, Northampton, Worcester, New Bedford, Fall River and Holbrook.

"This has been an uphill candidacy from the beginning - got in late, got people trying to push me out from the very beginning," Gabrieli said Monday. "There's a lot of voters turning out tomorrow - independent voters, as well as Democrats - who've had it with no leadership in this state."

Patrick, playing a more conservative front-runner's strategy, shook hands at the Route 128 commuter station in Westwood before heading downtown.

Reilly was showing off his establishment backing at appearances in Springfield with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the city's former mayor; in Worcester with Sheriff Guy Glodis, in Boston with Mayor Thomas Menino; in Lynn with Mayor Chip Clancy and in Framingham with Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Framingham.

All three candidates were to converge in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood at nightfall for a traditional election-eve rally. 2006 key races

Polls and goals
The winner of Tuesday's primary advances to the November general election against a field of candidates that includes Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and gets the chance to become the first Democrat elected governor in Massachusetts in 20 years.

According to the poll conducted for The Boston Globe and WBZ-TV and released Sunday, 46 percent of likely primary voters questioned said they would vote for Patrick, a former Clinton administration official making his first run for elective office. If he wins in November, he would become the state's first black governor.

Another 25 percent backed Gabrieli, a Boston venture capitalist running for the state's top office after failed campaigns for Congress in 1998 and lieutenant governor in 2002.

Another 18 percent of respondents said the favored Reilly, the state's two-term attorney general. Just 6 percent were undecided, and 4 percent pledged support for another candidate.

The poll of 523 randomly selected voters was conducted Tuesday through Friday by the University of New Hampshire's Survey Center. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

"I feel great," Patrick said Sunday during a campaign stop in Brighton, where he visited a road race and shook hands with parade-goers. "We've got work still to do. We always make the point that it isn't over until the voters say it's over."

One of the first stops for Reilly on Sunday was the Teamsters Local 25 union hall in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, where he spoke before about 500 cheering union members waving "Reilly" flags.

Reilly quickly dismissed the poll, saying he has always been underestimated as a political figure - and always has come out on top.

"Surprise, surprise, they say their candidate is going to win," Reilly said, referring to the Globe's endorsement of Patrick. "(Voters) should be insulted by the Boston Globe telling them that the election is over."

Gabrieli, who met with voters in Haverhill and Peabody, said the larger the turnout on Tuesday, the better his fortunes. He faulted the Globe poll saying it focused too much on the party's "hardcore" and said his campaign's own polling shows a much closer race.

"My voters are voters who want a change in this state and they're not paying attention to that (Globe polling). I'm very confident," he said.

Turnout, turnout, turnout
Turnout was the focus for all three candidates.

Patrick, who has used the Internet to help build a grass-roots network of supporters, said he met last week with 400 statewide coordinators who are working with the campaign's precinct captains to turn out pro-Patrick voters on Tuesday.

Gabrieli's campaign was planning to contact up to 300,000 households in the run-up to the election.

Whoever wins Tuesday's primary will face off against Healey and two other candidates on the November 7 ballot - Christy Mihos, a former member of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority who is running as an independent, and Green-Rainbow Party nominee Grace Ross.

Voters will also decide a number of other party primaries on Tuesday.

Worcester Mayor Tim Murray, Cape Cod businesswoman Andrea Silbert and former Brookline selectwoman Deb Goldberg are vying for the chance to run on the November ticket as the party's lieutenant governor pick.

Another Democratic primary race pits incumbent state Secretary William Galvin against challenger John Bonifaz while on the Republican ballot, voters will choose which candidate - Ken Chase or Kevin Scott - will get the chance to try and unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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