One of the already most hotly contested and pivotal races of the year – Democrat Elizabeth Warren challenging Republican Scott Brown for his Senate seat representing Mass. – just got even more interesting. The two candidates both demanded a cease-fire of spending by super PACs, the independent organizations that can raise and spend unlimited funds influencing elections, on their race. Senior officials from each campaign are planning to meet to write a pact curtailing the ability of super PACs to sway the Mass. election.
As Politico reports, this is pretty unusual:
Whether the talk amounts to anything more than public posturing to distance themselves from the millions of dollars in negative attacks launched by the groups remains to be seen. Experts are skeptical that groups will unilaterally disarm knowing that this race could tip the balance of power in the Senate.
Both Brown and Warren have already been flush with donations directly to their campaigns – they don’t really need super PAC help to buy millions of dollars worth of advertising.
Nonetheless, the candidates have been speaking out against super PACs – and loudly:
“What I’d like to do is I’d like to be able to run my campaign,” Warren said before a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at [Boston’s] convention center. “I’d like for Sen. Brown to run his campaign and we both be responsible for what is said. I think that is the right way to be able to run the campaign.”
Brown, speaking outside an American Legion post in Mattapan, Mass., said he’s “glad professor Warren seems to be coming around on this issue,” adding that he’s been calling on her to disavow outside spending for several weeks.
“I think by sending a joint message to stay out, I’m hopeful they’ll accept that message,” he said. “This is going to be decided by the people of Massachusetts, not by the tens of millions of outside interest dollars coming into our state.”
Late last year, as her poll numbers surged, Warren was one of the early victims of a negative ad campaign by the Karl Rove-linked group Crossroads GPS: