By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
With the Massachusetts senate race in its final stages, national money is flowing into the state. I reported on Friday that the League of Conservation Voters and AFSCME had entered the fray for Democrat Martha Coakley. Since then almost all of the new money reported has been on Republican Scott Brown's side.
A group called Our Country Deserves Better, which apparently represents the Tea Party Express (which doesn't seem to have the approval of actual tea party activists and has had some shady spending practices) has spent more than $116,000 since Friday, mostly on Internet ads and newsletters. Move America Forward, another group founded by the same person who runs Our Country Deserves Better, has also spent $10,250 on the race this weekend, all on emails.
The National Republican Trust, an influential and well-financed conservative PAC, has spent a bit under $100,000 on media and emails. The National Organization for Marriage ($50,000) and something called the Cooperative of American Physicians ($35,000) have each sunk money into phone banking on behalf of Brown.
Planned Parenthood spent $10,000.10 on phone banking for Coakley.
A couple of things are striking about the pro-Brown spending. It's always entertaining to watch someone self-described as an independent, political free operator getting so much support from national conservative groups. And it's especially entertaining given that while many of these groups support ideological purges from their party, Brown is ... a liberal, according political scientist Boris Shor. He is in fact more liberal than Dede Scozzafava, the unfortunate, erstwhile GOP nominee in the special House election in New York a few months back. Shor writes:
Brown’s score puts him at the 34th percentile of his party in Massachusetts over the 1995-2006 time period. In other words, two thirds of other Massachusetts Republican state legislators were more conservative than he was. This is evidence for my claim that he’s a liberal even in his own party. What’s remarkable about this is the fact that Massachusetts Republicans are the most, or nearly the most, liberal Republicans in the entire country.
(h/t Andrew Sullivan) Who knows--maybe if Brown wins, some of these groups will field a primary opponent against him next time out.