Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown’s campaign is setting expectations for a “plurality” of primary votes, essentially saying in a memo that a win will be just that – a win – and the margin of victory is of little consequence.
Brown campaign manager Colin Reed, in a memo released earlier later today, writes, “A look at recent history indicates that if Brown wins the primary, it will be with a plurality of votes. Brown is running in a crowded field with 10 other candidates, including former U.S. Senator Bob Smith and former State Senator Jim Rubens, who has significant third party backing.
Reed’s clear attempt to set low expectations for Brown’s primary night showing drew criticism from New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley.
“What a crock,” Buckley wrote in the comment section following this story (see below. ” Classic Massachusetts ploy of attempting to set the bar low so that when the numbers roll in they can claim their margin a ‘shocker’ ‘stunning’ ‘momentum’ etc. Scott Brown will get more than 60 percent of the Primary vote. I challenge anyone to show a Primary poll showing Brown less than that. Why does Massachusetts’ Scott Brown and his out of state campaign staff think NH is so stupid?”
Earlier in the week, however, the Democratic Party’s communications director, Julie McClain, set the bar higher for Brown.
She told The Associated Press l that given Brown’s name recognition, fundraising and high profile endorsements, “If he doesn’t win this primary with 80 to 90 percent of the vote it should rightfully be seen as a disappointment.”
Brown’s campaign then pointed out two primary polls, from the spring, in which Brown received 38 and 40 percent.
Reed, in the memo, wrote, “In 2010, Kelly Ayotte emerged from a four-person primary with just 38 percent of the vote. She then went on to a convincing 22-point win in the general election. Similarly, in 2002 Craig Benson captured 37 percent of GOP voters in his three-way primary race en route to the governor’s office.”
In 2010, Ayotte received 38.2 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Ovide Lamontagne while Bill Binnie received 14 percent and Jim Bender received 9 percent.
In 2002, Benson received 36.8 percent to 33.8 percent for Bruce Keough and 28 percent for Gordon Humphrey.
Reed then describes why he believes chief competitors Bob Smith and Jim Rubens will be formidable on Sept. 9.
“Both Bob Smith and Jim Rubens bring unique strengths to the table,” he writes. “Smith, who represented New Hampshire in Washington for 18 years, both as a senator and congressman, has strong support among very conservative voters. On the other side of the political spectrum, Rubens has benefitted from the financial support of the liberal Mayday PAC, which has dumped nearly $1 million into attack ads against Scott Brown in the final two weeks of the race.”
Also, writes Reed, “As Brown’s campaign has gained strength, the outside, third-party groups backing Shaheen have also leapt into action, seeing the primary as their best chance to stop Brown or at least slow his momentum. All told, pro-Jeanne Shaheen/anti-Scott Brown groups are outspending pro-Scott Brown/anti-Jeanne Shaheen groups by more than a two-to-one margin in the two weeks leading up to next Tuesday’s primary.
He notes that the pro-Rubens Mayday PAC is spending $877, 297 between Aug. 22 and Sept. 9, while Tom Steyer’s Nex Gen Cimate action is spending $590,695 and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is spending $153,000.
Meanwhile, Reed writes, the pro-Brown Independent Leadership for New Hampshire PAC is spending $91,850 through Sept. 8 and the Ending Spending Action Fund is spending $626,870.
Reed writes: “We’ve said all along that head-to-head polls between Brown and Shaheen won’t truly reflect the dynamic of the race until the general election when GOP voters put the divided primary behind them and unite behind the nominee. But the race to the airwaves from panicked pro-Shaheen forces – including an accelerated buy from the DSCC and Shaheen herself changing course and now running her own negative ads against Brown before the primary is over – indicates that the Democrats are worried, and for good reason.”
Click here for the full memo.