Inside fight

Does Brown have the staying power to go toe-to-toe with Whitehouse?
By IAN DONNIS  |  February 23, 2006

ROLLING THE DICE Although Brown edged ahead of Whitehouse with a classic challenger's strategy, this fundraising quarter will reveal whether he has the bucks to compete during the primary air war.By all accounts, Thursday, February 9 was a red-letter day for US Senate candidate Matt Brown. A headline atop that morning’s Providence Journal — “Brown leads Whitehouse” — heralded the findings of a new Brown University poll. The results represented the fruit of the Democratic underdog’s high-stakes strategy: pour campaign cash into television advertising, in hopes of raising recognition and poll results, and thereby spurring a fresh wave of campaign contributions. And here was liberal icon Kate Michelman, the former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, headlining a “Women for Brown” fundraiser at a comfortable home on Providence’s East Side, and lending the candidate her most enthusiastic support.

Still, even during one of the best weeks of Brown’s run for the rarefied brass ring of the US Senate, reminders of the advantages enjoyed by his chief primary rival, Sheldon Whitehouse, were never far away. When I asked Cheryl Blazar, the hostess for the event and the finance co-chair for Brown’s campaign, how she got involved with the candidate, she recounted being introduced to him by her good friend Mark Weiner — who, after being a Brown supporter, subsequently took on the post of national finance chairman for Whitehouse’s campaign.

Brown dismisses the level of establishment support for Whitehouse — as further evinced by the backing of US Representatives Patrick J. Kennedy and James R. Langevin — touting a disciplined message that he is more distanced from politics as usual. “I’m someone who has fought some very tough fights and who always fights on issues that I think are important,” he says, “and I think that’s the kind of ROLLING THE DICE Although Brown edged ahead of Whitehouse with a classic challenger's strategy, this fundraising quarter will reveal whether he has the bucks to compete during the primary air war. leadership we need.” By way of example, Brown points to his call last August — the first by a Senate candidate, he says — for President Bush to set a timetable for bringing US troops home from Iraq, and he raps Whitehouse for refusing his invitation to take part in a debate on the war. With a $1.5 million war chest, Whitehouse can afford to bide his time for now in terms of airing commercials, and he’s doing his best to ignore Brown’s campaign.

1  |  2  |  3  |   next >
  Topics: News Features , U.S. Government, U.S. State Government, Matt Brown,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY IAN DONNIS
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   RHODY'S LOCAL FOOD MOVEMENT FINDS ITS GROOVE  |  February 23, 2009
    Five years ago, when Farm Fresh Rhode Island (FFRI) launched its mission of promoting Ocean State-produced food, co-founder Noah Fulmer discovered a curious disconnection in the local food chain.
  •   TICKET TO RIDE  |  February 11, 2009
    In April 1999, two weeks after I started on the job at the Providence Phoenix , the FBI raided City Hall, formally unveiling the federal investigation that would land Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci Jr., Rhode Island's rascal king, behind bars.
  •   ADVOCATES RENEW PUSH FOR PUBLICLY-FINANCED RI ELECTIONS  |  February 04, 2009
    During a news conference Tuesday afternoon in the State House rotunda, proponents of significantly expanding publicly financed elections in Rhode Island — a concept they call "Fair Elections" — cited a litany of reasons for why it would be good for the Ocean State and its citizens.
  •   THE UPSIDE OF HOPE IN RHODE ISLAND  |  January 29, 2009
    Everywhere one turns these days, there's seemingly more bad news about Rhode Island: the unemployment rate, one of the highest in the nation, tops 10 percent — and the state's running out of unemployment assistance.
  •   BROGAN TAKES ON TEENS, SOCIAL NETWORKING IN TEASER  |  January 28, 2009
    Former Providence Journal reporter Jan Brogan is out with her fourth mystery, Teaser .

 See all articles by: IAN DONNIS