If the NRSC had its druthers, the establishment candidate for the Republicans in the upcoming special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts would be a former statewide elected official (former Gov. Mitt Romney, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, former Gov. Paul Cellucci), someone with previous prominent governmental experience (former Presidential Chief of Staff Andrew Card, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan), a prominent businessperson who could self-fund (former Carruth Capital president Christopher Egan), or a politically conservative celebrity (retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling). It looks like none of these will be represented in the Republican establishment candidate.
It appears that the GOP establishment is coalescing around Republican state sen. Scott Brown. Andrew Card even endorsed Brown as he announced that he would not be a candidate. The only other Republicans to have expressed interest are Bob Burr, a Selectman from the town of Canton, Massachusetts’ 85th most populous municipality, and Jack E. Robinson, who almost finished third (barely a percentage point ahead of the Libertarian candidate) in the 2000 U.S. Senate race. So, barring a surprise candidacy, Scott Brown will be the Republican nominee.
Brown is one of only five Republican state senators in the forty-person body (to go along with only 19 Republicans in the 160-person body). One could look at that and say that a Republican has no shot in overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts. Another could look at that and say that Brown wins where other Republicans might not.
Which is the correct way to look at it? Let’s ask the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Should anybody in Massachusetts think that Brown has even an outside chance to win? Well, if the NRSC – the Republican campaign committee whose sole focus is electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate (i.e. they who should be Brown’s biggest cheerleader) – publicly commits to ponying up serious cash for the special election (serious being at least $1 million), then Republicans and right-leaning independents can at least take heart that Washington D.C. is taking this race seriously. However, if the NRSC will not publicly commit to spending a cool million or more in Massachusetts in support of Brown’s candidacy, that means that they’re writing it off. If the Republican campaign committee whose sole focus is electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate writes Brown off, why shouldn’t Massachusetts voters write Brown off?
So, ladies and gents of the NRSC, which is it? A public commitment to spending serious dough in Massachusetts, or writing off the race altogether? (At the very least, maybe the NRSC can hook Brown up with a better graphic designer.)