Locked in a close race for the Massachusetts Senate seat, Sen. Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren clamored across the state yesterday, hoping to sway on the fence voters to see things their way.
While many previous polls had shown Warren to be in the lead, a UMass Lowell/ Boston Herald poll conducted between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3 gave Brown a slim 1 point edge in the contest that has garnered national attention.
Throughout their campaigns, both candidates have seemed to cast the race in a national context, emphasizing what they could do for Washington.
Brown has pledged to be “a beacon of partisanship” in Congress, according to the Boston Globe. It’s a role, he says, the country needs in face of extreme partisan politics in Washington.
Warren, on the other hand, has taken a different approach. Instead of pledging bipartisanship, she has grounded her campaign in the idea that Washington cannot afford a Republican-controlled Senate. Many of her ads have prominently featured her and President Barack Obama, whom she has been in vocal support of.
Warren has depicted herself as someone who will represent working families in Massachusetts, wearing construction helmets in televised advertisements and emphasizing her connections to unions.
Yesterday, she took this one step further, campaigning with Ted Kennedy Jr. and Patrick Kennedy to highlight the similarities of her ideology and the ideologies of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy, according to The Republican newspaper.
Throughout the campaign, both candidates have highlighted different elements of their platform. For Brown, one important issue has been to keep taxes as low as possible
On his website, Brown writes that the “government has proven to be a terrible steward of our money. Until Congress can show that it will manage taxpayers’ hard-earned money responsibly, I believe we’re better off stopping all tax increases and forcing Washington to do more with less.”
He argues instead that the government should raise money by closing loopholes through tax reforms.
In addition to portraying herself as someone who will work on the behalf of the middle class, Warren has also chosen to highlight social issues, particularly women’s rights.
“I can’t believe I have to say this in 2012: I’m going to Washington to stand up for women,” said Warren in an Oct. 28 Boston Globe story.
During the Symphony Hall Senate debate in Springfield on Oct. 10, Warren ticked off a list of votes she claims Brown has made against women. Brown has repeatedly stated that he supports women’s rights.
Another cause Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, has repeatedly championed during her campaign is education. During the debates, she openly criticized the current loan system, stating that America needs to invest in its future.
It’s this stance that swayed Jessica Newton, a UMass student, to support Warren.
“I feel like she has students in mind more than Scott Brown,” she said.
Mina Rae Beckman, the president of the UMass Democrats, also supports Warren, and said she believes that she will “level the playing field so that anyone who wants to go to college can.”
David Kaufman, the president of the UMass Republican Club, supports Brown, and noted that he particularly like his bipartisan stances on some issues.
“I do believe in (Brown), I do trust him and his bipartisanship is huge,” he said.
Michelle Woodward, a journalism major, was initially undecided on who she would vote for, but is now leaning toward Warren.
She said she likes that Brown is bipartisan, but the issues he votes with Democrats on are not the issues that matter the most to her.
“I think that one of the biggest issues in our economy is the class divide, which is what Elizabeth Warren focuses on,” Woodward said.
In March, both of the candidates showed they were pulling out all the stops for this election, quickly making the race one of the most expensive senate races in the country.
As of Nov. 1, the candidates have spent approximately $68 million on their campaigns, crushing previous records in Massachusetts, according to the Huffington Post. Brown raised $26.7 million not including $6 million that was left over from his 2010 campaign. Warren has raised $38.5 million.
Warren has accepted $600,000 from political action committees, versus that $3.2 million Brown has accepted from PACs, according to the Huffington Post.
Both Warren and Brown were spending more on their campaigns than they were raising, according to an Oct. 26 Boston Globe article which said that their money is spent on large staffs, polling and advertising.
The result of the seemingly bottomless pocketbooks of the candidates has been a seemingly endless string of advertisements, much to the ire of many students.
When asked what she thought of the candidates’ campaigns, Woodward said she thought the large campaign and the amount of ads was “ridiculous.”
Kaufman agreed, saying that the ads for the two candidates were everywhere. He said that he and his friends joke about how every time they go on YouTube, they see an ad supporting Warren.
Nursing student Courtney McNamara said that she will be voting for Brown and does not think Warren’s negative ads towards Brown are the way to run a campaign.
“You should say how you feel, not how the other person feels, you shouldn’t put them down,” she said.