Daniel Doherty

Via The Boston Globe:

Last winter, Senator Scott Brown was still at the crest of a wave. Polls showed he was more popular in Massachusetts than the president. His memoir hit the best-seller list, making him a top draw on national television.

Democrats, meanwhile, sounded dejected, as one candidate after the next bowed out of a potential showdown with Brown, figuring they had too much to lose against the Republican. But things can change quickly in politics. A year later, the race is now close enough that Brown is casting himself as the underdog.

Today, he officially launches his reelection bid at a rally in Worcester, facing a likely Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, who is running even with him, according to early polls. She could even take the lead as she outpaces his fund-raising.

“If you’re the Brown campaign looking at this, this is a bit of a new world,’’ said Peter Ubertaccio, director of the Martin Institute and professor of political science at Stonehill College. “They probably have been caught off guard, as have we all with this juggernaut of the Warren campaign.’’

As might be expected, Scott Brown faces a tough reelection campaign this year. Nearly every poll conducted in the Bay State shows the Massachusetts Senator in a dead heat with Elizabeth Warren, the erstwhile Obama official and Harvard professor. Yet despite -- or perhaps even because of -- her serial hypocrisy, Warren outraised Scott Brown by $2.5 million in campaign contributions last quarter. In other words, as I’ve written about before, I expect this to be the most hotly contested senate race in 2012.

In any case, Team Brown’s latest campaign ad is effective and moving in a number of different ways. The advertisement, in short, does not explicitly mention anything about the Senator’s legislative record. Instead, it seems to stress his humble origins and underprivileged childhood. (Incidentally, his bestselling memoir, Against All Odds, gives one a taste of the extraordinary – and sometimes painful – challenges Scott Brown faced growing up in the suburbs of Boston.) Indeed, his rise from poverty is a unique and compelling narrative – one that may resonate with Massachusetts voters in November.

On the other hand, we’re also reminded that Senator Brown is one of the few independent voices in Washington – he supported Richard Cordray’s appointment to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for example – and is not beholden to either political party. Thus, considering at least fifty percent of the electorate in Massachusetts is comprised of registered Independents, Scott Brown will likely appeal to a plurality of voters next fall. That said, Elizabeth Warren’s precipitous rise in the polls suggests this will be an increasingly volatile and unpredictable race. Nevertheless, after watching this ad, it seems safe to say that Scott Brown will be a tough incumbent to unseat.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography