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Dems Digging in for Fight Over Central Mass Votes

Friday, August 17, 2012


The State Democratic Party has plans for new offices in Central Mass, part of a play for more votes in November's Senate race between Elizabeth Warren and Republican Senator Scott Brown.

Party members opened two new offices in Southborough and the South County area on Wednesday night, and officials said they will be signing leases for several more this week.

The Red Center

Republicans owned Central Massachusetts in the 2010 special election when Brown defeated Democratic challenger Martha Coakley.

The results of that contest shows a sea of red surrounding blue Worcester. Several of Brown's top towns, where he received more than 70 percent of votes, are located in the region as well.

The Massachusetts GOP had only four field offices open during the 2010 race. Now, the party has upped that number to 10, and the offices in Framingham and Worcester are two of its busiest.

The Blue Push

Democratic Party Chair John Walsh said the two Central Mass offices opened earlier this week bring the party's total up to 26 offices this election season, and plans for more are in the works.

As far as Walsh and his party are concerned, Central Mass is still up for grabs.

"The most important way to win votes in an area is to take it seriously," Walsh said.

"I know Elizabeth Warren has been spending a lot of time out there," he said. "The focus is going to be strong."

That strong focus on the region means not taking votes in Central Mass for granted or waiting too long to engage with voters.

"In order to ask people for their votes you've got to be there," Walsh said. "That kind of energy and focus in each part of the state is really, really important."

With fewer than 110,000 votes separating Brown from Coakley last time around, such a sustained effort across all of the Bay State might have made a difference in 2010 and will definitely have an impact this November.

"We are not going to make the same mistake we made in the special election," said Walsh. 

Experts Weigh In

Morgan Marietta, a professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, said this year's race is very different from the one in 2010, with a larger group of voters, more knowledge of Brown's leadership abilities and without the assumed Democratic victory.

"Warren will continue to be criticized for her career decisions but is a much better campaigner than Coakley was," Marietta said.

"Brown will appeal to conservatives and Tea Party supporters but will energize progressives to turn out to vote."

According to Marietta, Brown will likely hold the towns in Central Mass, but the state-wide race is still too close to call.

"The senate race reflects the national presidential contest of ideologically distinct candidates facing a polarized electorate," he said. 

"So much will hinge on which side has the most engaged supporters."


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