In the wake of a political scandal that many believed would derail Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s hopes of unseating Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), a series of new polls show the two rivals are once again locked in a statistical dead heat. Sure, the Harvard professor listed herself as an ethnic minority in a law school directory for nine years to “make friends” (even though she cannot produce a single shred of credible evidence proving she’s Native American), yet her suspicious behavior has not negatively affected her political prospects. In any case, as Guy reported last week, the Brown camp has actively sought campaign contributions during these tumultuous weeks at the expense of his challenger. Now, though, Scott Brown’s campaign seems to be pivoting in a different direction – touting his centrist credentials and bipartisan legislative record to galvanize the electorate.
At a time when Congress’s approval ratings have plummeted to historic lows, one of Senator Brown’s greatest strengths is that he’s hailed as one of the most bipartisan lawmakers in Washington. In fact, his latest television ad (which will air statewide starting on Tuesday), explicitly reminds voters that in 2011 he was ranked the second most bipartisan Senator in Congress.
This is an effective spot. In short, since at least 50 percent of Massachusetts voters are registered as Independents, I suspect his legislative record will appeal to a plurality of voters. Furthermore, I think it’s also smart to lay off the “fauxcahontas” controversy for the time being and focus on the issues. Two recent polls suggest voters in the Bay State care little about whether or not Professor Warren can back up her ancestral claims; they care about jobs and the economy. In truth, Senator Brown has a record of helping his unemployed constituents – including veterans – find work. That’s what he should be emphasizing over the course of the next six months, not the alleged character flaws of his opponent.