Scott Brown’s new strategy is proving effective as he nationalizes the New Hampshire Senate race.
A Sept. 19 Vox Populi poll puts the Republican ahead 47 percent to 43 percent for incumbent Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). The poll marks the first time that Brown has a lead over Shaheen and follows a Sept. 15 poll that found them tied with 48 percent apiece.
Brown has made foreign policy, border security and immigration the major themes of his campaign, using ads and townhalls to criticize Shaheen on those issues. If the CNN and Vox Populi polls are any indication the strategy appears to be working.
Brown continues to assail his opponent’s foreign policy credentials as well as linking her to the policies of President Obama. In the CNN poll, 60 percent of respondents disapproved of how the president is doing his job.
In a recent advertisement, titled “Protecting America’s Freedom,” Brown says that “radical Islamic terrorists threaten our way of life” and says that Shaheen and Obama “seem confused about the nature of the threat.”
“I want to secure the border, keep out the people that would do us harm and restore America’s leadership in the world,” Brown says in the ad.
Brown served on the Senate Armed Forces Committee during his tenure as Massachusetts senator and recently retired from the Army National Guard after a 35-year career with the rank of colonel.
The ad comes as ISIS haunts the news and a U.S.-led coalition launches airstrikes on Middle East militants including ISIS, al-Nusra and Khorasan in Syria.
Shaheen’s communications director, Harrell Kirstein, called the ad “sad,” saying that people of all political stripes should be united in support of the military personnel carrying out the strikes.
“Scott Brown is trying to score political points to help himself just hours after our military launched air strikes in Syria designed to destroy [IS],” Kirstein’s statement said. “We should be unified behind our men and women in uniform right now as we target these terrorists and bring them to justice, not launching self-serving political attacks that distort the facts for partisan gain.”
Another statement by Kirstein accuses Brown of “peddling the politics of fear.”
There is no doubt that the ongoing violence in the Middle East will continue to be the centerpiece in Brown’s campaign moving forward.
“In Iraq and Syria, we’re talking about an expanse of territory larger than New England that has now been lost to a terrorist army,” Brown said in a Sept. 24 foreign policy address. “A year ago, no one in Washington was even talking about ISIS. And yet here they are, exterminating innocent people including mothers and children, murdering Americans on camera, and declaring a caliphate that is drawing even more jihadists to the scene each and every day.”
During the speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, Brown accused Shaheen of having a “record of near-complete conformity with the president” that “covers just about every issue of national security and defense.”
“So if we’ve seen some bad calls at the White House, it’s a very safe bet that our senior senator has been right in line with that failed program,” he added.
The duo squared off in their first debate on Oct. 5, held by the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council.
In another ad, the national security-centric “Keep America Safe,” Brown blasts Shaheen over missing a Foreign Relations Committee hearing at which an official warned members about ISIS.
Reaching beyond the ad campaigns in his efforts to nationalize the race, Brown has been bolstered with endorsements from Republican heavyweights including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and most recently Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Rubio and Brown met with Gulf War veterans in Derry to discuss foreign policy on Oct. 7.
Interestingly, Rubio’s bipartisan immigration bill was a topic during the Oct. 5 debates, during which Brown said he “would not have” supported the bill.
“I can’t provide and continue to provide incentives rewarding that illegality by EBT cards, preferential housing. I did not believe the mechanisms in there were strong enough to address that very real issue,” Brown said. “And I also believe that it dealt with the amnesty issue a little bit too leniently.”
Shaheen has supported the measure in the Senate and defended the bill during the debate.
“It provides for additional border security – almost double the number of border agents – 700 miles of fence, more money for interdiction and surveillance efforts, that E-Verify system,” Shaheen said. “And it would have also dealt with the 11 million people who are here illegally, because they would have gotten in line behind the people who were here legally.”
Brown’s strategy also turns up the heat on Obama, saying that the president should strip American citizenship from ISIS militants. He said on Fox News that he inspired the Cruz-sponsored Expatriate Terrorist Act to do just that. During his time in the Senate, Brown proposed a similar bill to pull the passport of American-born terrorists.
He said during the Fox News appearance that “politics played a role” in that bill’s failure to be adopted.
“What they’ve done is they’ve – I think – given up their citizenship and left it at the door, and if they go back and forth– they’re not coming back to the United States to buy a house with a white picket fence, they’re coming back to hurt and kill us and change our way of life,” Brown said. “So they can’t hide behind the Constitution and the rights provided by our Constitution.”
Senate Democrats blocked Cruz’s bill from a vote.