He mentions the Kennedys at every opportunity.
And Brown loudly objected to the Obama Administration's requirement that religious-affiliated employers provide birth control coverage to employees — even suggesting, in a radio ad, that Ted Kennedy would have taken the same position.
Brown has also enlisted Democrats to make high-profile declarations of support. He's featured three of them, including former Boston mayor Ray Flynn, in a series of television ads in his current race.
Doherty, too, is targeting Democrats. He talks, constantly, of reaching across the aisle when he gets to Washington. And he tapped Flynn, whom he met years ago through his brother, to headline a "Democrats for Doherty" fundraiser at a Providence pub in June.
But when I asked the candidate if he planned to use Flynn — or any Rhode Island Democrats — in television advertisements, he suggested he would not.
Doherty, who is Catholic, also said he wasn't planning a concerted outreach to his co-religionists. There's no need, he suggested. "I am what I am," he said. People know me.
People know me. That seems something like the guiding principle of his campaign. Indeed, Doherty — the square-jawed, incorruptible cop whose career took him all over the state — has great faith in the power of his long service.
When he goes to a ballpark in Cumberland or the housing projects of south Providence, he tells me, "it's not my first time there and they know that." In this frame, Doherty's failure to emote — to make the Brown-like "one of us" gesture — doesn't matter all that much.
People know Doherty. And even a bare bones biography — family man, accomplished trooper — will do plenty to jog the memory; perhaps voters will even project a bit of Brown's blue-collar authenticity onto the candidate.
The trouble with this strategy is that Cicilline — a former Providence mayor who may be the hardest-working politician in the state — has also been to all the ballparks and housing projects. More than once. People know him, too, even better than the former superintendent of state police.
What may save Doherty is that the more the electorate hears about his opponent, the less they like him. Cicilline's declaration that Providence was in "excellent" fiscal condition during the 2010 Congressional race, his gerrymandering of the district once he took office, and his Democratic primary opponent's recent accusations of voter fraud — however credible — have all contributed to a tough-to-shake reputation for manipulation.
In this race, then, a full-fledged Scott Brown imitation may not be required. The reticent cop — Brown-lite — might do the trick.
David Scharfenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @d_scharfenberg.