Thanks go out to my old political buddy Paul Simmons who linked this great Dan Payne column on his Facebook feed: ["Brown’s Irish dance to victory"].
I don't read the Boston Globe much anymore, so I don't always see its stories and columns. Payne, as most Boston insiders know, is a Democratic consultant who works on messaging, advertising, and public policy for candidates (I think he does some business consulting too). I met him at a class I took at Harvard in the 1990s when I was chipping away at a bachelors degree at night. Since that time, whenever I see anything he has written or catch him on NECN or something, I stop what I'm doing and check out what he's saying.
This column, in a nutshell, reveals some of the finer points of why people, including many Democrats in Massachusetts, really like U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. In many ways, he is just a very conservative Democrat, as Payne hints at here.
That doesn't mean that Democrats don't have a chance to win back the seat in 2012. With a major push on to re-elect the president, the GOTV for the Dems will be massive. But Brown has a ton of cash on hand and will get money bomb help too. If he continues to be likable, look out.
If Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination, Massachusetts will probably be in play and Brown will be helped by those coattails. Other Republicans will also be helped since the state is being redistricted and will lose one of its 10 Congressional seats, seats that have historically been held by Dems (Both Peter Blute and Peter Torkildsen were ousted in 1996. Blute, it should be noted, voted against NAFTA and GATT and yet was attacked by Democrat Jim McGovern for being against working folks even though it was his president, Clinton, who was creaming working folks ... silly voters ...).
The redistricting issue is a major one since it means at least one current representative will lose his or her seat. While Democrats control the Legislature, meaning they will control the redistricting process, the precinct changes don't lie. There are only so many ways to reform the Congressional districts. The Mass. Democrats' GOTV helped them turn the national tide of Republicans sweeping everywhere in 2010. And they had a relatively weak field of candidates who weren't well-financed in many cases. But there were at least four Congressional districts where Republicans lost by 31,000 votes or less, meaning that when 10 shrinks to nine, the dynamic is going to change. Depending on the final redesign of districts, the class of candidates, and how well they are financed, Republicans could be competitive in as many as three or four of the nine districts. I'm not predicting wins; just competition.
Anyway, it remains to be seen whether Brown will survive or not. The odds are good and Payne shows the reasons why.