Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Neck and neck in Massachusetts

To take a break from talking about the race from the Republican nomination, I thought I would touch upon the tight race currently going on for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts between the incumbent Republican Scott Brown and the Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. The Republicans are keeping an eye on this race in particular because losing this seat in Massachusetts could prevent them from gaining a majority in the Senate in the 2012 elections.  
To give a little background, Scott Brown does not really fit into the typical ideological label of the Republican Party.  He has a very interesting voting record, most of the time siding with the party but voting against them 27 percent of the time. Even though he opposes same sex marriage, he voted for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t tell in 2010. He was also one of four Republicans to oppose Congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan. He opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, yet supported Massachusetts’ 2006 health care law.

Elizabeth Warren, like Brown, comes from a working-class background and embodies the Democratic Party’s commitment to the middle class—not to mention that she has made the defense of the middle class the centerpiece issue of her life. Warren has been one of the most important advocates for the middle class in Washington. As we all know from her role in Confidence Men, she was instrumental in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which aims to enforce laws preventing misleading practices by credit card companies, bank, and mortgage lenders.

Brown has been seen as fairly popular throughout his time in office since his special election in early 2010. Even so, the most recent poll as of February 9 has Warren ahead by 3 points, 46 to 43. But the good news for Brown is that he is currently leading in a more important statistic: he has an advantage of 53 percent to 32 percent among those who have not listed their party affiliation or are something other than Democrat or Republican. Keeping the Independents on his side will be pivotal for Brown: votes from them will possibly make or break the tight race for either candidate.

Both candidates have been raising staggering amounts of money so far, with Brown pulling in about $16 million and Warren bringing in $9 million in the last three months of 2011 alone; this race is being called the potentially most expensive Senate race ever, with the $70 million record currently held by the 2000 race in New York between Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio.

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