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More Dems Jump Ship to Join Brown

Monday, September 10, 2012


The recently rolled out "Democrats for Brown" coalition has racked up nearly 500 Democratic politicians and grassroots supporters statewide.

Representative Chris Fallon was the first Democrat currently serving in the State Legislature to cross over when he gave his public endorsement to Republican Senator Scott Brown late last week.

Fallon joined the likes of Springfield's former Democratic Mayor Charlie Ryan and Boston's Ray Flynn, as well as Worcester's own former Mayor and current City Councilor Konnie Lukes, who appeared in one of Brown's campaign ads earlier this election cycle.

The three former mayors will serve as co-chairs of the newly-formed coalition.

Flynn and Lukes have a history of giving cross-party endorsements. Both supported acting Republican Governor Paul Celucci during his 1998 run, and Flynn backed Brown in his 2010 special election victory over Attorney General Martha Coakley. Flynn has also come out in support of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in his presidential bid this year.

Former Bristol County District Attorney, Democrat Paul Walsh, is heading up the South Coast division of Brown's new coaltion, and he and Lukes both received flack for supporting Republican William Weld over John Kerry.

"I'm truly honored to receive the support of so many Democratic leaders across our state," Brown said in a press release.

"During these challenging economic times, we need to be working with - not against - each other to get things done for the people we represent. We need more bridge-builders and fewer rock throwers. I'm extremely grateful for the support of these Democrats, and pledge to continue working across party lines with any person of good will to find common ground and move our country forward."

Aiming to Cross the Aisle

The creation of the "Democrats for Brown" coalition is the latest in a series of moves by the Brown campaign to emphasize the Republican Senator's work with, and support from, Democrats in the Bay State.

While the message has been all about Democrats crossing the aisle, its real target is likely the independent and undecided voters straddling the middle.

In Massachusetts, registered Democrats, with 1,486,648 voters on the rolls, outnumber their 471,829 Republican counterparts by more than a 3 to 1 margin.

The 500 Democrats who have come out in support of Brown make only a negligible dent in their party's numbers advantage.

With this year's Massachusetts Senate race coinciding with the presidential election, Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Warren is positioned to benefit from President Barack Obama's name at the top of the ballot.

Courting the Middle

However, the Commonwealth's nearly 2.2 million unenrolled voters dwarf the numbers of both major parties, and how they vote is widely predicted to be the deciding factor in the Brown-Warren race.

By appearing equally at home working with Republicans as well as Democrats, said Morgan Marietta, a professor of Political Science at UMass-Lowell, Brown is improving his chances among voters who may feel allegiance to neither party.

"Brown is the everyman who simply wants good government and will work with everyone to make it happen," he said.

"The Brown campaign is consistently communicating to both his base and independents, while Warren has been concentrating more on her base of support among traditional liberals."

Brown's efforts seem to be paying off as recent polling has shown the Senator with a several point lead over his opponent Warren.


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