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Professor: New Round of Ads Offers Snapshot of Brown-Warren Race

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The most recent batch of ads from Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Warren and Republican Senator Scott Brown paint a vivid picture of the state of the Massachusetts Senate race.

Brown has rolled out two new television ads: one featuring a Korean war veteran in Concord who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for service to his country, the other an installment in his "Scott Brown from the Road" series focused on the state's struggling fishing industry.

Warren's new ad, "Still," makes women's issues on the national level its focus, including equal pay, health insurance coverage for birth control and Roe vs. Wade, which Warren warned could be one Supreme Court justice away from becoming history 40 years after the decision first made history.

Westfield State University Political Science professor Michael Walsh weighed in on the newest television efforts, giving both candidates credit for signing the People's Pledge and keeping third-party groups from barraging voters with negative ads.

Brown Staying Positive

Brown's ads take a local angle and steer clear of anything resembling an attack, a wise decision, said Walsh.

"Because the national race is so nasty, I don't think Brown really sees any upside to doing a heavy negative run."

To be successful in November, Walsh said, Brown will have to drum up and secure support from older voters, veterans and men, three groups likely to respond well to the new ads.

A good percentage of the women's vote will also be crucial to a Brown victory, but recent efforts to promote the Senator as a pro-choice Republican as well as campaign events featuring his wife Gail Huff Brown have helped bolster support among women and allowed the candidate to move the focus of his re-election campaign back to jobs and the economy.

Warren Rallying Around Social Issues

Warren has taken the opposite tact, using comments by Missouri Rep. Todd Akin as the starting point for a call to arms among women voters on social issues.

The idea that Roe vs. Wade is one Supreme Court appointment from being overturned offers voters a powerful image.

"i think that's an effective ad," Walsh said.

"The question is does it resonate beyond the people who are already voting for her?"

Walsh said he was somewhat mystified by the Warren campaign's decision to pump up the national-level social issues at this stage in the game.

"The challenge for her is she's got to localize," he said, a practice Brown is already trying to engage in with his two newest ads.

That localizing has also helped Brown distance himself from national Republicans while he has minimized his involvement with the party's national convention this week, maintaining his bipartisan and independent image.

Professor Dennis "DJ" Deeb of UMass-Lowell said the efforts by Warren to characterize her opponent as one with the Akins of the Republican party smacks of desperation.

"I think that this is a strategy that many Democratic candidates for Congress and U.S. Senate are employing throughout the country," Deeb said, "and that is to paint the Republicans with one brush and to really turn it into a national debate of Republican versus Democrat."

The Economy is Unavoidable

While the attempts by Democrats may seem desperate, Deeb said they are still a solid play.

"Given the circumstances, it's actually a smart strategy to try to shift the voter's attention away from jobs and the economy," he said.

"I'm not sure it's going to work though."

Warren may have less to worry about than some of her Democratic colleagues, since experts see President Barack Obama likely winning Massachusetts, and Warren stands to benefit more than Brown from the increased turnout the presidential race will generate.

However, for Deeb, independent and unenrolled voters may end up being the key to victory in the Bay State Senate race.

"We know that from past elections that political party affiliation is the number one indicator of how people are going to vote," he said.

"The winner is going to be who reaches out to those independent and unenrolled voters."

Heading into Labor Day, it remains unclear whether those voters will be more swayed by the national-level social message of Warren's new ad or the Massachusetts-centric narrative on display in Brown's latest offerings.


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Harvey Beehive

The fact that Lying Lizzie is taking the low road is evidence that she's behind. She is a screaming shrill with nothing to add beyond her extreme socialist views. Still talking about abortion and Roe v. Wade? Come on. Abortion has long been decided. Using that same old tired argument to scare women into voting for her is a "hail Mary" desperation pass. HA!

Iron Mike Farquhar

Funny how Lyin' Lizzy claims 'no one from Wall Street who caused the financial crisis has been held accountable'.

Really Lizzy? Just WHO is our ATTORNEY GENERAL?

Oh, that's right - the guy who was in the SAME LAW FIRM as Jon Corzine of MF Global fame...- the same guy who can't see voter intimidation by New Black Panthers, but feels it's 'racist' to ask for picture ID and proof of CITIZENSHIP from voters...

Obama doesn't want Holder going after the folks who are bundling Million$ for him!

It will take a NEW Attorney General, - a real one appointed by Mitt Romney - to finally bring Eric Holder to justice.

Lizzy has learned her Democratic lessons well, divide, - spread blame, - spread fear, - demonize, - then offer cheap glittering slogans instead of solutions. In our state it's worked to fool TaxoCrats for over 60 years.

The Nino Creed

Well written article -- really clearly spells out the ideological battle and how that is playing out in the varying ads the candidates are running. Interested to see the outcome of this race. Thanks for bringing some clarity to the race, Mr. Drici.

Hye Aghcheg

Have to hope the voters cast their ballots based on issues vs. party lines. If women think social issues are more critical than jobs, the economy and the financial safety of their families, then let them vote for Warren. Scott Brown votes by the issue and does not tow the party line. He's willing to work across the aisle on issues that will benefit everyone, something Lizzie would never do. It will be interesting to see how the voters in MA cast their ballots. If they elect her and she is completely ineffective as our Senator, they will have nobody to blame but themselves. The voters passed on Charlie Baker in favor of Deval Patrick...how'd that work out for us?

Edward Saucier

I saw the ad where Scotty called the Medal of Honor the Congressional Medal of Honor. I'm surprised, actually I'm not surprised, that Scotty didn't know that the correct name is the Medal of Honor. However many do erroneously refer to it as the Congressional Medal of Honor, but not usually by those who serve or who have served. But then again, I never thought that the National Guard was anything like the regular Army.

I could go on and on about the things Scott Brown doesn't know but why waste my time on the usual bunch of ignoramuses that hang out inside the comment section. The few that do have a brain already know that Scott Brown can't hold a candle to Elizabeth Warren in any way, shape, or form.

Iron Mike Farquhar

Before beginning your usual Democratic name-calling [ignoramuses] Ed, perhaps you can state your bona fides by telling us how many years of military service YOU have, and how many tours YOU spent in active combat zones?

The CMOH is just as correct as MOH for our nation's highest decoration.

>> "never thought that the National Guard was anything like the regular Army"

Again I question your 'special expertise' on this subject. FYI, I've served in all three, the active Army, the USAR, and the Guard. I can assure you that Russian made 7.65 rifle bullets do not discriminate. Given the number of Reservists and Guardsmen who have returned from Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places with PHs, - you owe them a public apology for your flippance.

Beyond your ignorance of our military Ed, we FULLY expect you to support Mz Warren.

She is a serial box-checking liar, who wrote a book using fudged data [just got her research partner fired from UVA], flipped 20-some foreclosed homes in Oklahoma while railing against the banks, - and claims that college tuition is 'too high for middle class families', - while she collects a salary of $250K from Harvard. As a lifetime fraud, she's EXACTLY the kind of candidate we EXPECT TaxoCrats to support. If ~ only ~ she had a DUI...

Edward Saucier

Iron Mike is wrong on all counts. Back to the drawing board oh great shell shocked warrior.

Iron Mike Farquhar

>> oh great shell shocked warrior

More personal attacks and name calling Ed? Without telling us about your own military experience and expertise?

I guess you went to the same Ethics & Charm School Mz Warren did...

Edward Saucier

I have tried to answer Iron Mike several times but GoLocalWorcester will not let it go through for some reason? I keep getting this on my screeen after I hit SUBMIT. Sorry Iron Guy, I ain't my fault. And the moderator evidentially is asleep at the wheel.

Computer says your input might be spam, so it will be moderated first.

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