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Expert: Focus Will Be on Women in Home Stretch of Mass Senate Race

Thursday, August 23, 2012

 

With just 75 days to go until the election, one expert says the US Senate contest in Massachusetts between Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Warren will come down to mobilizing supporters and courting women voters.

Women Voters Will Be The Difference

"The women's vote is an important vote this race," said Michael Walsh, a lawyer and professor of Political Science at Westfield State University.

"The notion that women vote for women in all circumstances is just a fallacy," Walsh said, noting that several studies have indicated that female swing voters will split ballots on a fairly regular basis.

Courting the Female Vote

Both the Brown campaign and the Warren campaign have redoubled their efforts to secure the votes of women throughout the Commonwealth.

With wife Gail Huff Brown on the campaign trail, the Senator's "Women for Brown" initiative has been a success, observers say.

Warren launched her own grassroots initiative, "Women for Warren," last week to celebrate the anniversary of women securing the right to vote.

Social Issues Come to the Fore

The flap by Missouri Representative and Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin in an interview last weekend provided the Warren campaign with some additional firepower.

Warren released a new radio ad featuring a sound bite of Rep. Akin stating, "If it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

"This can't be happening in 2012, right?" asks the announcer.

The Republican National Convention's recently announced platform, with its across-the-board prohibition on abortion, hasn't done the GOP any favors among women voters.

Brown was quick to release a statement of his own on Tuesday responding to the platform and calling for a more inclusive stance on abortion.

"Even while I am pro-choice, I respect those who have a different opinion on this very difficult and sensitive issue," Brown said.

"Our Party platform should make the same concession to those of us who believe in a woman's right to choose."

The Senator also distanced himself from Akin as soon as the representative's statements became widely known.

"Brown was very nimble in jumping out in front of that story, painting Akin as fringe and far-right," Walsh said. "He handled that beautifully."

While Brown's campaign released a statement criticizing Warren's support for President Barack Obama's failed economic policies, he is unlikely to be able to distract from women's issues for any length of time, especially with the Massachusetts Democratic Party pushing that message on all fronts.

"Scott Brown is desperate to avoid talking about his votes and his party's policies against women," said Mass Dems spokesman Matt House.

The party organized a conference call on Wednesday between reporters and State Senators Katherine Clark and Karen Spilka where the GOP's agenda on women was the main topic of discussion.

Brown Pulls Ahead in Poll

Yet this week's Public Policy Polling results showed Brown with a five-point lead over Warren, 49-44, after the candidates were tied as recently as June.

"That bodes well for Brown now that you're heading into Labor Day if those numbers hold," Walsh said.

Blue Mass Group's Charley Blandy said Brown is mostly safe on the issues of contraception and abortion, but his vote in the Senate against legislation for equal pay for women could work against him.

Brown's campaign manager Jim Barnett said the Senator is capturing support from Democrats, including Worcester's own Konnie Lukes, and his pro-choice stance plays well among moderates and independents.

Tim Buckley, communications director for Mass GOP, said the party's field plans will not change during the final stretch of the campaign season, and he expects an influx of volunteers later in the fall to help bolster door-to-door and phone bank efforts.

It All Comes Down to Jobs

Social issues have dominated the narrative in the Mass Senate race for the last week, but the greatest obstacle for both campaigns, said Walsh, will be winning over the women voters who are most concerned about jobs.

"You've got to find a way to refine your message and work the economic issues into it as well, not just the social issues," he said, noting that in Massachusetts, most women are in the workforce and often in the role of main provider for their families.

"Warren's got that vote when it comes to the social issues," Walsh said.

"What they're both fighting over is that group of women whose position goes beyond those social issues to the economic ones." 

 

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Comments:

Edward Saucier

Check out a great NY Times Op-Ed by Charles M. Blow: All the Single Ladies

Why is that "Women for Brown" thing doing so well? Because they obviously are suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome."

Elizabeth Warren has been spreading the facts about Scott Browns abysmal voting record.

Scott Brown voted against three jobs bills that would have supported 22,000 jobs in Massachusetts.

Scott Brown voted to protect tax breaks for oil companies, some of the most profitable companies on the planet, rather than investing in clean energy.

Scott Brown voted against the Buffett Rule, legislation that would make sure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share in taxes.

Scott Brown voted against equal pay for women.

Scott Brown voted for the Blunt amendment to limit women's access to birth control and cancer screenings.

When a news reporter asked Scott Brown to respond to Liz Warren's statement that he supports the national Republican agenda. Scott Brown replied: "I don't need Professor Warren talking or speaking or commenting on my votes."

Well he certainly doesn't, because it really makes him look bad and makes him out to be a purveyor of truthiness.

Harry Huckum

Scott Brown is leading by 5% Edward.

How does that make you feel?

Lizzy has stopped running against Brown. She is now running against a generic republican
She can't beat Scott. People are tired of her lies and her distortions. Scott is likable, Lizzy is not. People vote for people they like.

Must be killing you?

Harvey Beehive

I have come to the conclusion that Saucier has become unglued. He is completely incapable of discussion on any level. He has fully fallen into the depths of the democrat mindset. When unable to debate honestly, start name calling, toss insults, and engage in 1st grade antics. His thinking is the shallowest I've seen in a very long time. So much for the party of tolerance. Pathetic...




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