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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Outside Groups Helped Warren and Other Democratic Senate Candidates


It is clear now that Elizabeth Warren picked Scott Brown's pockets on "the People's Pledge."  It committed the candidates to reject outside spending on broadcast and Internet ads.  But it did not apply to other -- and probably more effective -- forms of outside spending. American Crossroads CEO Steven Law warned at the time:
Because the agreement allows union phone banks, direct mail, and get-out-the-vote drives — all union core specialties — Warren’s latest agreement has loopholes the Teamsters could drive a truck through, the longshoremen could steer a ship through, the machinists could fly a plane through and government unions could drive forklifts of paperwork through.
And in the fall of 2012, direct mail flooded mailboxes. Right after the election, the Boston Globe reported:
Over the course of the campaign, union members knocked on the doors of 327,936 union households, said Steven A. ­Tolman, president of the ­Massachusetts AFL-CIO. They made 242,000 phone calls to union households, distributed 250,000 leaflets to 175 work sites, and worked 10,708 volunteer shifts, he said, often standing for hours outside ­Warren’s events.
An article in Politico suggests that Warren and other Democratic Senate candidates had "outside" help in a vareity of forms. A super PAC close to Harry Reid spent about $2 million in Massachusetts during the final weeks on direct mail, a field operation and "other under-the-radar activities."
Majority PAC ended up spending millions across the country — including $2.8 million in Connecticut; $4.5 million in Indiana; $4.1 million in Missouri; $5 million in Nevada; $4 million in North Dakota; $3.3 million in Ohio; $6.2 million in Virginia; $4.2 million in Montana; and $5 million in Wisconsin. Nearly all of it was in attack ads pummeling Republicans.
But sometimes, it took action in under-the-radar ways. In Maine, when independent Angus King came under attack from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Majority PAC and Patriot Majority conducted a private poll to inform allies there that the attacks were having an effect and the Republican candidate, Charlie Summers, needed to be defined. The effort was particularly sensitive because Democrats in Washington refused to endorse their own party’s long-shot nominee, hoping privately that King would win and caucus with them.
And after Labor Day, as the Warren-Brown race remained tight, Majority PAC and Patriot Majority — along with labor, environmental groups and abortion rights groups — put together an extensive mail, phone and field operation to attack Brown, identify Democratic voters and woo swing voters to back Warren. The Reid-affiliated groups dropped $354,000 in the race — and it had a very blunt message for Bay State voters.
“Don’t let Scott Brown give Republicans control of the U.S. Senate,” Majority PAC warned in a mailer to voters there.
And the Republicans?  The article quotes former DSCC executive director and Schumer confidant J.B. Poersch:
“They spent $162 million on their side, in Senate races, just on television,” Poersch said Saturday. “On the Democratic side, the collective number was $80 million. As outsized as it sounds, there was a wider percentage difference than in 2010. And when you look at how they spent it, [Republicans] spent way too much money early."