U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez is trying to raise his profile and campaign funds and he's counting on veteran Senator John McCain to help him do both on Monday.

McCain is stomping for his Republican colleague in Massachusetts, where Democrat John Kerry’s new post as U.S. Secretary of State earlier this year left his Senate seat open.

Gomez is challenging Democrat and longtime congressman Edward Markey for Kerry’s seat in a special election on June 25.

The Monday rally for Gomez, a former Navy Seal trying to become the first Latino senator ever from Massachusetts, was planned for a Boston VFW post in the city's Dorchester neighborhood. Tickets to the fundraiser range from $2,600 for lunch to $37,000 per person for a VIP round-table.

Markey on Monday planned to attend a Congressional Badge of Bravery Ceremony at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston to honor Woburn Police Officer Mark Gibbons for his actions after a jewelry store robbery.

Markey could also release six years of tax returns as early as this week.  Gomez has already released six years of returns.

Gomez is accusing Markey, with a narrow lead among likely voters according to the latest polls, of hiding during the race for Kerry’s old seat. 

Gomez, the son of Colombian immigrants who works as a private equity investor, has again asked for a debate with Markey, who has yet to agree to one.

A Boston Herald story said: “If you haven’t been paying much attention to U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey’s Senate campaign, that’s just fine with Markey. Debates? He hasn’t agreed to any against GOP opponent Gabriel Gomez. Releasing his tax returns? He’ll get to it — eventually. Public campaign appearances?Good luck finding Markey. He made few campaign appearances last week — and most of those were not open to the public.”

Gomez’s campaign sent a letter to Markey’s campaign that said: “We got tired of waiting and have gone directly to debate organizers and confirmed Gomez’ attendance. We hope he will meet us at these debates across the Commonwealth.”

To be sure, the campaign has been turning nasty.

Markey alluded to the Connecticut school massacre in a new TV ad that criticized Gomez's gun stand.

Markey's ad notes that Gomez opposes a ban on federal assault weapons and on high-capacity magazines "like the ones used in the Newtown school shooting."

Gomez called the reference to the shooting that killed 20 children and six adults "below the low."

The Republican said he supports expanded background checks for weapons sold at gun shows and online.

A recent poll showed Markey with a narrow lead over Gomez.

Markey leads Gomez by 48 to 41 percent, according to a poll conducted by the Democratic Public Policy Polling and paid for by the League of Conservation Voters.

Though narrow, Markey’s lead over Gomez is an improvement over what it was two weeks ago, 4 percent, in a poll also conducted by Public Policy Polling.

Another poll, however, showed Markey with a double-digit lead. And a recent Suffolk University-7 News poll showed Markey leading over Gomez with 17 percentage points, or 52 to 35 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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