What Can Brown Do for Us?

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 11:37 am

Hillary Chabot talks to grumpy Massachusetts Republicans who think they have an outside chance at an upset in next month’s special election for U.S. Senate — a credible candidate (State Senator Scott Brown) and an anti-Democratic Party headwind — but are being starved for funds.

Local operatives say the national GOP and the NRSC have donated voter lists, telephone systems and at least $50,000 to Brown’s effort.

But that support is barely a blip when compared to the intense GOP involvement in the unsuccessful but vigorous Romney and Weld Senate bids.

In 1994, NRSC’s leader, then-Sen. Phil Gramm, vowed an “all out effort,” during Romney’s underdog battle against Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The national party boosted Romney’s campaign coffers by $540,000 – the legal limit – in so-called coordinated spending.

The problem for Republicans is that state Attorney General Martha Coakley won the Democratic primary. She he has tapped a state fundraising base to haul more than $2 million for the one-month campaign and she cannot easily be tied to national Democrats. Running against Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), a Democrat from the state’s most liberal district, would have been one thing. Running against Coakley is just too daunting. But if Scott Brown keeps the race surprisingly close — around 10 points — expect attention to swing to the special election in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.

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