Trouble for Brown Against Dem Incumbent in New Hampshire
Shaheen widens gap in poll and hauls in campaign cash.
July 19, 2014 - 7:05 am
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown continues to struggle in his quest to unseat Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) as the latest UNH/WMUR Granite State Poll shows Shaheen, the incumbent, with a 12-point lead over her likely Republican rival.
In the July 9 poll, Shaheen had the support of 50 percent of respondents, compared to 38 percent for Brown. What’s worse for Brown is that he lost ground on Shaheen since the previous UNH/WMUR poll back in April.
That poll showed Shaheen with 45 percent of respondents’ support and Brown with 39 percent.
In the recent poll, Shaheen also leads Brown, 52 percent to 40 percent, with undecided voters.
Following the poll’s publication, Shaheen’s campaign released a statement touting the results.
“This poll shows what Granite Staters know: Jeanne Shaheen puts New Hampshire first and her common sense leadership makes a difference for people here,” the statement said. “She’s got deep roots in New Hampshire, raised her family here and her record proves she shares our values.”
However, the poll found 69 percent of Republican voters still say they are undecided, leaving Brown some room for improvement. He will have to set his sights on overhauling his reputation in the state; 40 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of Brown, compared to 31 percent with a favorable view.
Republican challengers Bob Smith and Jim Rubens are still largely unknown, the poll found. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they did not know enough about Smith, a former U.S. senator, to have formed an opinion of him. Of those who did have an opinion of Smith, only 18 percent said it was a favorable one.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they did not know who Rubens was and only 10 percent had a favorable view. Rubens served as a New Hampshire state senator from 1994 to 1998.
The poll did show Rubens, though, to be the only Republican candidate whose favorability rating was on the rise.
“Jim Rubens is not a Washington establishment politician, so he is not as well known,” Brian Tilton, communications director for Rubens, said in an email. “However, over the next couple of months, the Republican primary voters in New Hampshire will be making their decision on who to support, and as they learn more about [him] they will come to the conclusion that he is the strongest and most principled Republican in this race.”
One group is looking to showcase the “authenticity” of Rubens and help with his name recognition problem in the state. The New Hampshire PAC to Save America launched a website just a day before the poll was published. The site’s objective is to reveal Brown’s “deceptive” record. The site, RealScottBrown.com, purports that during Brown’s time in the Senate he consistently voted in support of President Obama more than 60 percent of the time.
The site is the first project by the super PAC, which was incorporated in May by David Mason, a Republican and former Federal Elections Commission chairman.
The site’s launch also coincides with the FEC filings of the candidates, which showed Rubens to be trailing behind the big-name candidates in funding. Despite raising more than $22,000 from Apr. 1 to June 20, Rubens had to inject $253,600 of his own funds into his campaign. The super PAC has so far spent almost $58,000 in the election – and so far they seem to have placed their support firmly behind Rubens.
Shaheen outraised the field, hauling in $2.8 million in her quest for re-election during the quarter. The figure almost doubles the $1.5 million she raised during the first quarter and — perhaps most importantly — is more than the amount raised by Brown.
According to Brown’s campaign he raised $2 million during the quarter. In his April FEC filing, Brown reported to have raised only $274,728.
The New Hampshire PAC to Save America is the just latest to enter the ad-campaign fray in the race. Americans for Prosperity has produced several ads targeting Shaheen; their most recent, titled “Tell Sen. Shaheen: We Want Our Hospitals Back,” was released on July 11. The ad takes aim at Shaheen’s support of the Affordable Care Act, alleging that 10 of 26 New Hampshire hospitals are “off-limits” to those with insurance plans bought from the federal marketplace.
“Senator Shaheen remains Obamacare’s biggest cheerleader, despite the fact that it’s making healthcare less accessible and more expensive for New Hampshire families,” AFP President Tim Phillips said.
The Senate Majority PAC and the League of Conservation Voters have led the ad campaigns for Shaheen – focusing mainly on Brown, who is the overwhelming favorite to win the Sept. 9 primary and face off against the senator.
The Senate Majority PAC has spent more than $682,000 on ads against Brown so far this year, according to FEC filings. The LCV has spent $400,000 on two separate ad campaigns targeting Brown. The latest campaign focuses on the role the Koch brothers are playing in the race through Americans for Prosperity and highlights Brown’s Senate record supporting subsidies for big oil.
The LCV spent more than $1.1 million in the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race that saw Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) defeat Brown.
Brown’s campaign manager said last week that the “path to victory is simple: consolidate the Republican base and split the independent vote.”
“If he can do that, Scott Brown will become the next senator from the state of New Hampshire,” Colin Reed, Brown’s campaign manager, said in a memo. “Republicans constitute 30 percent of the Granite State electorate, while independents make up 43 percent.”
(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)