Where is the national GOP in the Massachusetts special election?

posted at 10:12 am on December 29, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Normally, when a special election occurs to fill a seat in Congress or especially the Senate, the national parties throw resources and attention onto the race.  The lack of competition for attention allows the national parties to transform the elections into national referendums of sorts, and the party out of power usually has an opportunity to exploit the lower turnout to steal a march on the governing party.  So why have the national GOP and party leaders gone AWOL in Massachusetts, where Scott Brown will battle Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy’s seat in the Senate?

U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown has been all but abandoned by the same national Republican committees that pumped hundreds of thousands in campaign cash to former governors Mitt Romney and William Weld during their long-shot bids for U.S. Senate.

The snub has outraged local Republicans who say national conservatives should be jumping at the chance to nab the first open Senate seat in decades despite Brown’s tough odds in the Jan. 19 special election.

“They need to give Scott a level playing field,” said former state GOP chairman Peter Torkildsen. “It’s one of those rare opportunities that a Republican has a good shot in Massachusetts.” …

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.

Fifty thousand dollars?  The RNC rather famously gave Dede Scozzafava almost a million dollars in her special-election bid earlier this year in New York’s 23rd Congressional district.  Michael Steele came under tremendous criticism for that decision later, when Scozzafava’s liberal political positions became more well known, but in this case, the GOP doesn’t have any other candidate running in the race.  And a win by Brown would strip Harry Reid of his 60th vote in the Senate and force Democrats to start working with Republicans to get bills passed.

So why the lack of attention from the GOP?  Jules Crittenden would like to know the answer to that, too:

You’d think the national GOP would be interested in that. It may be an uphill fight, but if Brown lacks statewide name-recognition on the level of state AG Martha Coakley, and if he is a Republican in a state that general goes two-thirds Democratic, he is a charismatic, intelligent candidate. At least a third or better generally goes Republican, and of the state’s last four elected governors, three were Republicans. But Brown’s campaign has been a little lackluster, and by the looks of things, could use an infusion of cash, expertise and people with dialing fingers. …

I had a houseful of in-laws and friends here in Blue Mass the other night. Several Massachusetts Democrats born and bred, union members in public service in the bunch. They were all talking about that health care thing. All of them. Not one of them liked it. Not because it doesn’t have the public option or abortion. Because they all expect to get shafted.

Brown has a perfect platform on which to run.  MassCare has become an expensive flop, and ObamaCare is worse.  All Brown needs is the money and the bullhorn to say, “Let’s not make the same mistake twice,” and he could score an upset over Coakley.  But the GOP needs to start taking the race seriously — and even if Brown comes up short, it would still give the GOP some momentum towards stopping ObamaCare in 2010.


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