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:
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)
Elizabeth Warren (D)
Harvard Law professor and the creator of President Obama's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
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
Scott Brown: "On Your Side"
Elizabeth Warren: "Too often"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- The best online movies to watch this weekend
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- The danger of the Democrats' lack of desperation
- The secret to Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing grilled cheese sandwiches
- Hey, Paul Ryan's new poverty plan isn't completely terrible!
Subscribe to the Week