In discussing the Scott Brown victory with friends and colleagues over the past few days, some angles of the race incredibly haven’t been picked up by the endless mainstream news media coverage.
#1: Specter’s Swap caused the Bay State flop
A casual conversation with a veteran campaign operative brought up an interesting angle to Brown’s victory: that Arlen Specter may have unwittingly delivered this seat to Republican control with his April party switch.
Back in April, Specter’s switch didn’t just make the rallying cry of “The 41st Vote” relevant, it also eliminated the Republican primary between the liberal Specter and conservative Pat Toomey. Remember Toomey had just barely lost a 2004 primary challenge and was poised to overtake Specter in 2010 – if he had the right resources.
If you were a conservative donor somewhere outside of Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, to whom would you donate money if you had to choose: a well-known candidate who had legitimate shot to help return the Senate to its roots, or a long-shot barely-known state senator trying to take Ted Kennedy’s seat? Specter’s swap in April made Brown the best investment when his nine point poll deficit was announced earlier this month.
Who said Arlen Specter never helped the GOP?
#2: Speaking of polling…
Remember how Democrats were roundly criticizing Rasmussen polls for supposedly being skewed in favor of Republicans? Well, it was Rasmussen who first signaled that this race may be closer than the conventional wisdom would suggest it could be.
#3: Jack E. Robinson helped break the “color barrier” for the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation
No, it isn’t THAT Jackie Robinson, and that “color barrier” is, of course, blue. Robinson has been a Republican candidate for multiple state offices since his 2000 challenge of Ted Kennedy, but is considered something of a joke among Massachusetts Republicans. Yet Brown took him at least semi-seriously in their primary match-up.
The contested primary was no contest – Brown won 89% of the vote. But Mike Rossettie, who blogs at RedMassGroup (and used to run the political machine that was the UMass Republican Club) made the point that the primary was an opportunity to campaign, drum up name recognition, and win endorsements and free media.