Since entering the Senate, Brown has proved to be a remarkably agile politician—casting a symbolic vote against extending the Bush tax cuts while protecting the carried-interest loophole for investment managers; voting for financial reform, but not before weakening it at the behest of the banks who’ve given heavily to him. Still, he should be beatable in Massachusetts on the basis of one vote alone: the one he would cast to make Mitch McConnell majority leader of the Senate. And yet polls put his statewide approval rating at around 60.
One of Brown’s great advantages is that he has lived in Massachusetts virtually his entire life, and he never lets you forget it. He can be seen at opening day at Fenway Park; he’ll buy time on the Red Sox network to bid farewell to retiring players. Andrea Nuciforo Jr., a former Democratic state senator from Pittsfield who is running for Congress, recalls seeing Brown in action at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Sturbridge: “He talked about the Patriots, the Red Sox, and the weather.”
Warren is no carpetbagger—the Oklahoma native moved to Cambridge in 1995—but she lacks the same fluency in the state’s cultural preoccupations. She “doesn’t know that Ben Downing, the state senator from the Berkshires’ dad used to be the D.A. and he died of a heart attack shoveling snow,” says DiCara. “You can get briefed all you want, but it’s tough to understand that stuff.”