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Massachusetts Senate: The race at a glance
Sen. Scott Brown (R) and challenger Elizabeth Warren are locked in one of the tightest races in the country, and their pact to keep it civil is fraying fast
 
First-term incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) trails Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren by nearly 2 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics polling average.
First-term incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) trails Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren by nearly 2 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics polling average.
Win McNamee/Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images

When a little known Republican state senator beat Massachusetts' Democratic attorney general in a 2010 special election, it rocked the political world. Scott Brown, a onetime model who had driven across the state in a pickup truck, ended the Democrats' brief filibuster-proof 60-seat Senate majority, throwing into doubt the passage of ObamaCare. Nearly three years later, Democrats want Ted Kennedy's former seat back, in one of the closest-fought races of the 2012 election. Here's what you should know:

THE CANDIDATES

Sen. Scott Brown (R)
First-term incumbent; won a special election in January 2010 to fill out the term of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D)
Age: 53

Elizabeth Warren (D)
Harvard Law professor and the creator of President Obama's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Age: 63

KEY ISSUES
At the beginning of their race, Brown and Warren agreed to run a civil campaign and signed a "People's Pledge" to actively discourage outside groups, mostly super PACs, from running ads on their behalf. The outside-spending pledge is mostly intact, but the tenor of the race is getting increasingly negative. Brown is hitting Warren over her disputed claim to be part Cherokee and Delaware Indian, and for doing legal work for big corporate clients — a history he claims undermines her image as an advocate for the little guy. Meanwhile, Warren is hammering Brown's voting record in the Senate and fealty to the Republican Party, which her side believes undermines his claim to be an independent vote for the largely Democratic Bay State.

REAL CLEAR POLITICS POLL AVERAGE
Warren: 46.8 percent
Brown: 45 percent
(See the full data here.)

CASH ON HAND (as of Aug. 17): 
Brown: $14.2 million on hand; $19.5 million total 
Warren: $12.3 million on hand; $28.3 million total

DUELING ADS:

Scott Brown: "On Your Side"

 

Elizabeth Warren: "Too often"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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