Massachusetts Democrats recently launched a campaign painting Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown as anti-Fenway Park, in an effort to help challenger Elizabeth Warren capture suburban voters and win over an electorate that sees her as an unlikable liberal outsider.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a new Massachusetts Democratic Party website, RedSoxOutofFenway.com. The site alleges that during his time in the state legislature Brown supported a proposed move by the Boston Red Sox to Foxborough, Mass.
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According to an April 13 memo from Massachusetts Democratic Party spokesman Kevin Franck, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, "As Red Sox Nation celebrates the season opener at Fenway, the Massachusetts Democratic Party is launching a new website highlighting Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s push to move the Red Sox from the iconic Boston ballpark to Foxborough. … The website can be views (sic) at RedSoxOutofFenway.com."
The site—headlined "Scott Brown Strikes Out"—compares quotes Brown made regarding Fenway Park’s future "Then" (2001), when he reportedly supported the team’s move to Foxborough, with "Now" (2012), as he recently launched a radio ad commemorating the park’s 100th anniversary. The site is "Paid for By the Massachusetts Democratic Party."
Mixing baseball and politics has been a dangerous game for the Warren campaign thus far. During a Democratic debate in December at Stonehill College, Warren could not correctly identify the years—2004 and 2007—that the Red Sox won the World Series this century.
The website’s launch comes amid several high-profile setbacks for Warren in her efforts to connect with Massachusetts voters—particularly white, middle class, suburban voters, political observers tell the Free Beacon.
In addition to being perceived as far more "unlikeable" than Brown, Warren is relying largely on out-of-state donations to fund her campaign.
Warren raised $6.9 million in the first quarter of 2012, though she still trails Brown’s cash on hand by $4 million. Warren’s campaign manager Mindy Myers stressed in an email to reporters that Warren raised $2.5 million from Massachusetts donors. Out-of-state donors, then, account for the other $4.4 million—more than 60 percent—of Warren’s first-quarter haul.
Brown campaign spokesman Colin Reed told the Free Beacon, "Professor Warren's fundraising continues to be mostly out-of-state money from extremely liberal donors and special interests that are trying to influence the Massachusetts election."
An April Boston Globe poll showed that 57 percent of likely Massachusetts voters find Brown to be the most likable candidate in the Senate race, while 23 percent find Warren most likable. Forty-two percent of Democrats, a plurality, find Brown more likable than Warren. An April 11 New York Times headline read: "Senate Race Testing Politics of Likability."
Brown hails from Wakefield, a town in eastern Massachusetts, north of Foxborough.
"Brown is from one of those towns," elections analyst and editor of the Almanac of American Politics Michael Barone told the Free Beacon. "He does very well along Route 9. The I-91 corridor going north from Boston—he does very well there. Elizabeth Warren has more support in Boston."
Suburban voters went strongly for Brown in 2010, surprising some who consider Massachusetts to be a solidly Democratic state.
That is not necessarily the case, however, according to political commentator Jay Cost.
"Massachusetts both is and is not a Democratic state," Cost said. "Forty percent of Massachusetts voters called themselves independents in 2008. That’s above the national average."
A Boston Globe poll in April found Brown with a 3-to-1 advantage among independents.
"It’s a Democratic state in the sense that Democrats dominate the political offices," Cost said. "Because when the Massachusetts Republican Party can’t break 40 percent in elections, the party starts to atrophy. Less money comes from the national GOP and less party money gets spread out to the districts. Republicans regularly don’t even put up candidates for U.S. House races in Massachusetts. But that is not necessarily a symptom of voter demographics anymore."
Warren has had trouble locking up local Democratic support.
Former Democratic Boston mayor Ray Flynn endorsed Brown over Warren on April 9.
"I support Scott Brown strongly," Flynn, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, said in a local television interview. "He adds a dimension to what is necessary, needed in the United States Senate. A bipartisan voice, one who is going to place the interests of all the people, not just Republicans, in center."
Current Democratic Boston mayor Thomas Menino declined to endorse either Warren or Brown during a radio interview in March.
Menino said, "I’m not with anybody at this time."
Menino spokesman Katie Ward confirmed to the Free Beacon that "there has been no statement" from the mayor’s office on the U.S. Senate race. Menino may be holding out on an endorsement until he receives political advantages from national Democrats, insiders say.
Warren will have to rely on out-of-state help and hope that President Obama’s up-ballot standing will turn out Democrats.
"This is a contest that will be influenced by coattails on Election Day," Larry Sabato, University of Virginia Center of Politics director, told the Free Beacon. "Even though Romney was governor, Obama may well defeat Romney by 15 to 20 percent or more in the Bay State. That means Brown has to get a lot of Obama crossover votes. It won't be easy. For any other Republican, I'd say it was well nigh impossible. But Brown has a decent chance to do it."