US Election: Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown slug it out in Massachusetts
IN MITT Romney’s home state, cash is pouring into the coffers for the battle for the Senate seat that was traditionally owned by the Kennedy clan.
It is the costliest race in the country outside the presidential contest, with $70 million (£43m) raised so far, and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, with huge backing from United States liberals and women’s groups, may be inching ahead of truck-driving former model Senator Scott Brown.
But the battle for a critical swing seat that could help decide whether Democats can hold on to their Senate majority is on a knife-edge.
In the city of Everett, a three-mile long stretch of Boston’s metropolitan suburbs which cherishes its champion high school football team, Ms Warren was a star guest at a fund-raising event for Sal DiDomenico, a local state politician.
“This race is about what kind of a people we are, and what kind of country we are determined to build,” she said, praising the “good family people” in the working class city of about 40,000 people.
“The Republicans say the way to build a future is to cut taxes for those at the top, and leave everybody else to pick up the pieces. We are better people than that.”
Her opponent himself, she tells the crowd, “is going all around the country saying this race will determine whether or not the Republicans take control of the US Senate.”
In 2010 Scott Brown, a real-estate attorney, became the first Republican Senator for Massachusetts since 1972, driving his truck around the state in a folksy campaign.
His tough childhood and a law degree from a top American university give a harder edge to his career than a six-year stint as a part-time model that included winning Cosmopolitan magazine’s “America’s Sexiest Man” contest.
Mr Brown’s startling victory early in Barack Obama’s term was seized on by Tea Party Republicans. He is a popular figure who voters “would like to have a beer with”, and in the Senate he has claimed a moderate voting record.
“For me, it doesn’t really matter who is in charge,” he said in a recent television interview. “The problem is in Washington you have these extremes on the left and the right, but in between you have 15-20 of us, who are actually the good moderates, Democrats and Republicans. I’m tired of the gridlock, it makes me disgusted. There is plenty of blame to go around.”
Both candidates have been busy rolling out the endorsements. Singer James Taylor is among Warren’s celebrity supporters, and Brown’s big backers have been mostly from finance and business.
At the Everett gathering, John Burley, who works for the city, described himself as Democrat supporter of Mr Brown. “I want somebody who is going to be able to deal with the issues,” he said. “I don’t want partisan politics. I want the person to vote whether the issues are good for the people. It’s the economy, it’s everything.”
His friend, Vinny Rugieri, was leaning to Ms Warren. “There’s a lot of people out of work. People don’t spend their money like they used to, it’s tough times just now,” he said. “I think it’s kind of split 50-50 between Warren and Brown, in this group.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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