Neither of those party lines will necessarily be the most effective with the Massachusetts electorate. The Bay State is strongly Democratic — Democrats control the Legislature, the governor’s office and every seat in the U.S. House — but the majority of voters are registered with no party and have, in certain circumstances, shown a willingness to vote for the GOP. Republicans ruled the Bay State governor’s office from the end of Democrat Michael Dukakis’ term in 1991 until Gov. Deval Patrick was sworn into office in 2007.
The independence of the Massachusetts voter is a theme Barnett tapped into in his memo, which was sent to Roll Call after inquiries about the Democratic memo released to Roll Call on Sunday.
“A large proportion of Democratic general election voters will be more moderate and conservative ethnic and working-class voters who appreciate Scott Brown’s common-man appeal and common-sense policies,” Barnett wrote. “They helped deliver victory to Scott in 2010 and will be a key group within Scott Brown’s winning coalition in 2012.”
Franck, of course, hammered home a different take in his memo, writing that the Bay State “is overwhelmingly opposed to the national Republican agenda.” He cited one recent poll showing that voters favor broad strokes of the Democratic agenda, including narrowing the gap between the richest and the poorest Americans and raising taxes on the wealthy.
Without giving away third-quarter fundraising numbers, Barnett wrote that Brown’s “[f]undraising over the last year has been especially solid.” At the end of June, Brown had almost $10 million in his campaign account, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination, has only been in the race since mid-September. She appears, however, poised to post substantial numbers for the few weeks she has been an official candidate in the race.
Recent polls have shown Warren, who has strong support from both a national liberal base and the establishment Democrats in Boston and Washington, not far behind Brown in a head-to-head matchup.
Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate race a Tossup.
Narratives sometimes define campaigns as much as the candidates themselves, so it’s no surprise that both sides are trying to frame the election in vastly different ways 13 months out.
But there’s one thing both Barnett and Franck can agree on: There’s a lot at stake in the Massachusetts Senate race in 2012.