The Massachusetts Senate race is expected to be one of the most hotly contested races this season. It’s also likely to be one of the most expensive. But Republican Senator Scott Brown and likely Democratic nominee Elizabeth Warren are taking an unusual step to try to reign things in.
They are trying to declare a truce on outside campaign ads.
According to The Hill, “Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) sent Democrat Elizabeth Warren a letter on Friday challenging her to join him in denouncing outside groups, who have already spent millions on attack ads in the race. Rather than ignore the challenge, Warren called Brown on his cell phone — and sent him a letter proposing a meeting between the two campaigns to reach an ‘enforceable agreement’ to rein in the outside groups. Now the Brown campaign says it will dispatch its campaign manager to meet with his counterpart in Warren’s campaign.”
It could be an interesting experiment, if it could work. Both candidates have been raising fairly equal amounts on their own, making their spending likely to be equal as well. Outside groups like interest groups and super PACs can greatly tip the scales on one side or the other due to their ability to raise unlimited funds.
In the end, however, it’s unlikely to happen. Candidates can’t coordinate with outside groups, so there would be no way to reinforce the ban, despite the candidate’s wishes. And in such a close race that could tip the control of the senate, it’s hard to see how any of the groups on either side, from American Crossroads to the League of Conservation voters, would be willing to stand on the sidelines and just let it be.
And if it did manage to occur, it would be primarily to the advantage of Brown. Having conservative groups attack Warren on his behalf simply reminds the voters of Massachusetts of his Republican background and his support for the party at a time that Brown wants to distance himself as much as possible. For Warren, party support is an asset, not a liability. Brown knows that he just can’t say the same.
Photo credit: ElizabethForMA flickr