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In the U.S. Senate race, it's been a day of words, images and an empty chair.

Democrat Ed Markey sat in a room next to an empty chair. There was no schedule mixup. No one was late.

Markey invited his opponent, Republican Gabriel Gomez, to join him in signing a "People’s Pledge" to limit outside spending on ads. Gomez has repeatedly said he won't sign the pledge, so it was no surprise he didn't show up.

Ever since winning the Democratic domination a week ago, Markey has made Gomez and outside money a daily talking point.

"What is now happening in this race is that Gabriel Gomez is saying that he will not accept the People's Pledge, that he is going to welcome vast amounts of undisclosed, unlimited, money into this campaign," Markey said.

But if Gomez doesn’t sign the pledge Markey wouldn’t say if he would welcome his own outside interests into the race.

"I am going to continue to pressure him in order to sign this contract," Markey said.

Gomez has called out Markey for accepting outside money during his long career as a Congressman, even pointing out that Markey has accepted $3.4 million in PAC money, some from groups he was regulating.

Outside Markey's empty-chair event, state Republicans were showing off big mockups of fake checks from telecommunications and special interests made out to the committee to elect Ed Markey.

State GOP spokesman Tim Buckley says it's hypocritical for Markey to call for the People’s Pledge.

"This political ploy by Markey is a game, to distract everyone from the real issues," Buckley said. "You know, jobs and the economy are the No. 1 and 2 issues in this race, and Congressman Markey has said nothing except this nonsense about the People's Pledge."

As the two campaigns squabbled over campaign donations, Gomez released an internet campaign ad full of references to his biography and the American dream.

"For a kid who didn't know English until he went to school, I've lived the American dream," Gomez said in the ad.

Last week, the Markey campaign released its own video, spotlighting Gomez’s ties to a group that faulted President Barack Obama for taking too much credit for killing Osama bin Laden.

In the video, an image of Gomez is briefly shown next to an image of Osama bin Laden. The Gomez camp is demanding that it be taken down. Markey is refusing. The bickering and political theater is sure to continue through the special election in June.