One of Brown’s most compelling ads shows him pounding the pavement, being surrounded by supporters, shaking hands, and asking people to support his lower-taxes/control gov’t-spending message. Sound familiar? McDonnell did the same thing repeatedly. Like Brown, it’s easy to identify with McDonnell.

Brown is challenging Coakley in the blue-friendly turf of Boston while McDonnell competed in — and won — parts of Dem-leaning Northern Virginia (including the counties of Prince William, Loudoun and populous Fairfax). McDonnell made frequent mention of his Fairfax roots; his campaign signs in NOVA read “Fairfax’s Own” in Fairfax and “NOVA’s own” in the rest of the region. And McDonnell challenged Deeds in other traditionally Dem strongholds, as in another spot where he addresses the NAACP.

A highly lauded aspect of McDonnell’s campaign was how he could still hold conservative values while relating to moderates in Dem-leaning areas. McDonnell played up his family as much as possible, too. As ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) said during the ’08 pres. race, “I’m a conservative, but I’m not angry at anyone about it.”

Brown, too, plays up his soft and fuzzy side, complete with the obligatory “Hey, Dad” from his daughter.