Outside money ban in Massachusetts Senate race is working, but at what price?

"I know from running campaigns myself over the years, I like to be able to control things," said Charley Manning, a veteran Republican political strategist in Massachusetts. "Scott's going to have plenty of resources to make the case of why folks should re-elect him and we're not being besieged by rashes of negative ads."

Not only has the ban altered the campaign dialogue, it has also changed the fundraising model. Back in Dec. 2011, Brown had $13 million on hand to Warren's $6 million. Since then, Warren has demonstrated notable fundraising prowess. She outraised Brown in the second quarter of this year with $8.6 million to Brown's $5 million and is inching ever closer to Brown in cash on hand--Warren has $13.5 million while Brown possesses $15.5 million. Brown is no longer heads and shoulders above Warren in campaign cash, and some say the Warren campaign has the trusty pact to partially thank for that.

"I think it was a brilliant, strategic political move for him at the time," longtime Massachusetts Democratic consultant Jim Spencer told Yahoo News of the ban. "But now it's not the case that he has more money." What's more, Warren's average contributions are lower, Spencer said, meaning Warren can tap much of her existing donor base again before Election Day.

"He's probably rethinking that right now... given the Warren fundraising juggernaut," Cignoli said.

"This has been probably the biggest strategic blunder by Brown that I can imagine," said one senior Democratic strategist, about Brown's agreement to the pact. "I think if you look at the scope of whole senate landscape, you can't deny the fact that Republicans always win at this. He took that out of the equation."

Representatives from third-party groups that support Warren say that despite their inability to run ads against Brown, they're glad the pact is in effect. Conservative groups, they argue, would have crushed them with outside money.

"The fact that they've been completely kept on the sidelines I think is an encouraging fact," said Navin Nayak, senior vice president for campaigns at the League of Conservation Voters, the group that ran ads against Brown in 2011. He added that "there's no doubt" the pact has been a net positive for Warren's campaign. "The idea that we wouldn't have been outspent over the last eight months just doesn't hold water with any other race we're looking at."

The ban also prevents the party committees (the Republican and Democratic National Committees and the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for example) from making independent expenditures in the race. While all of these committees remain active in the campaign, they're doing it without advertising. The NRSC declined to respond to Yahoo News' request for comment on the outside money ban, but it can be assumed that it has resulted in more money to go around for other high-profile races, since the Massachusetts race isn't sapping their spending.

Brown's campaign and his Republican supporters disagree with the suggestion that the pact has put them in a bind, saying Brown would never have entered into the agreement if it could have hurt his campaign and he continues to firmly stand behind the pact's true purpose-- keeping outside spending at bay.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...