With the race to succeed Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate entering the homestretch, Republican Scott Brown continues to see his campaign catch fire.
Brown held a moneybomb event today, with an initial goal to raise $500,000. The campaign surpassed that figure and set a new goal for $750,000. That figure surpassed, the campaign now is aiming for $1 million. As of 7:28 p.m. local time, the take had reached $836,625.26.
The moneybomb result largely wipes out Coakley’s financial advantage over Brown. As of Dec. 31 Coakley had $937,000 in cash on hand; Brown $367,000.
This news came amid a report that the Democrats are now sending a top national functionary from D.C. up to Boston to help Brown’s opponent Martha Coakley. Hari Sevugan, the Democratic National Committee’s press secretary, is a pro at attack politics, so Brown will likely find himself covered with sludge between now and Election Day on Jan. 19. The big guns coming out might be interpreted to mean that the DNC wasn’t convinced by a Boston Globe poll over the weekend showing Coakley up by 17 points on Brown – a finding in sharp contract to a Public Policy Polling survey which had Brown ahead 48-47.
But the Brown campaign has something Coakley definitely lacks – energy. This from an e-mail sent to National Review’s The Corner…
The atmosphere here in Massachusetts is indeed very unusual and one that we hardy few Republicans have rarely, if ever, seen. I would like to try and convey a sense of what it is like on the ground here with three quick anecdotes. Kindly take them for what they are worth.
I am a small business owner and am co-owner of a bar in downtown Lowell. It is a small, local establishment with mainly tradesmen and working class customers. On Sunday night I stopped by to watch the playoff games. While I sat at the crowded bar, I mentioned to a longtime patron that I was planning on volunteering for the Brown campaign. As the conversation turned towards our support for him and our dislike for Coakley, two men, whom I know to be local union carpenters, mentioned that they were thinking of volunteering and spoke of their intention to vote for Brown. As talk of the election spread around our end of the bar, another gentleman informed us that he was scheduled to work a phone bank on Wednesday. Soon, our end of the bar room was abuzz with support for Brown. In working class Lowell, in a neighborhood bar, this level of support for a Republican is simply unbelievable. In addition, the newly minted Coakley ad generated an unexpected reaction from the patrons. When the ad finished someone in the back room hissed at the screens:”She thinks she already won!” Amazing.
You will not believe the number of yard signs and bumper stickers I saw for Brown this past weekend. For example, on my commute to work this morning, I saw fifteen (15) Brown signs, two (2) Brown Senate Bumper stickers, and exactly zero (0) Coakly signs on my twelve mile or less commute from very Blue Andover to Dracut. All told, I have lost count of the number of Brown signs I have seen over the past week or so and can count on one hand the number of Coakly signs (although Coakly supporters win hands down for sheer sign size. They are massive yard billboards much like the Obama ones).
One final observation. Much of the antipathy to Coakley is locally driven. For example, in Lowell she was responsible for a badly managed clergy sex abuse case and that is something that is not sitting well with the locals and much of the antipathy I met with on Sunday seems to stem from that. In addition, her handling of the Somerville Police officer sexual assault case where she failed to prosecute a police officer who assaulted his three year old niece with a curling iron as well as her role in the notorious Fells Acre Day Care abuse case have resurfaced, fueling much resentment in the greater metro Boston area such as Medford and Somerville. Even if people do not love Brown, they hate Coakley.
In the final analysis the democrats sheer numbers may make this all for naught come election day, but it is certainly empowering and heartening to feel like there is a chance, both locally and nationally to strike a blow for freedom and rationality.
Brown has been getting positive mentions from grassroots activists and GOP politicians alike of late, as well as the State p\Police Associations of Massachusetts, who endorsed him today. Coakley has now picked up one of her own, as President Barack Obama weighed in on her behalf in a message to his e-mail list today…
“You’ve worked so hard to organize around these and so many other critical issues. And now we’re so close to passing health reform — finally realizing Senator Kennedy’s life’s work. But we cannot get the job done without Martha Coakley in the Senate. And that means it may well all come down to you. I’m asking you to pledge a few hours or as much time as you can spare in this last critical week to volunteer at an event near you to help Martha win.”
Maybe so, but that’s the extent of the president’s help for Coakley. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said during his briefing today that “the president doesn’t have any travel plans to campaign in Massachusetts.”
Coakley, meanwhile, is on the offensive, attempting to equate Brown with George W. Bush. Brown is busy quoting John F. Kennedy…