Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh called former Sen. Scott Brown (R) a "faker" and insisted the state party is not concerned about its chances in defeating him in what will likely be the second special election with Brown as the GOP's nominee.
In response to a question concerning the viability of Democrats' only announced candidate, Rep. Edward Markey (D), against Brown in a special election to fill Sen. John Kerry's (D) seat if Kerry is confirmed as secretary of State, Walsh said he was unconcerned about Brown's campaigning style.
"I've met and observed Scott Brown for a few years. Charismatic is not the word I would use. I think Scott Brown is a faker. And so, yeah, is Ed Markey going to dress up in a costume and drive around Massachusetts? I mean, Scott Brown is a lifelong politician, who drives around in a truck he bought to haul his daughters horses, with a suede overcoat that cost 600 bucks, pretending he's a carpenter or electrician. Yeah, I suspect Ed Markey's not going do that," Walsh said during a conference call with reporters.
The former senator worked hard to frame himself as a beer-drinking everyman who could as easily rub elbows with Gloucester fishermen as heads of state. The effort paid off in high favorability ratings throughout the campaign, even as Brown turned to negative attacks on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) in an attempt to drive down her favorables.
Brown has not yet announced his intentions for the future, but he's dropped multiple hints that his defeat in the last election was not the end of his political career, and Massachusetts Republicans expect him to run.
Tim Buckley, communications director for the Massachusetts Republican Party, called Walsh's comments "laughable" in light of the fact that, according to the Boston Herald, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) has not asked the Senate Historical Office to list her as a Native American, despite claiming Native American heritage.
"It's laughable for anyone at the Massachusetts Democratic Party to be talking about fakery after it was revealed this week that Elizabeth warren was lying about her ancestry. The party of Elizabeth Warren condemning fakery is like John Edwards condemning infidelity," he said in an email to The Hill.
Though Markey has received the endorsements of a number of high-level Massachusetts and national Democrats, his nomination is not assured; both Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) and Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) have expressed interest in running.
The Massachusetts Democratic Party will not endorse any candidate for the primary, but Walsh said any candidate capable of defeating Markey would be a good one.
"I think if we have a candidate that beats Ed Markey in this primary, they're going to be one heck of a good nominee for us," he said.
But Walsh said he wasn't concerned that, if he wins, Markey would have trouble facing the image that Brown has crafted over the past three years. While "Massachusetts voters were tricked the first time," he said, this next campaign will be fought on the substance of Brown's votes.
"I think [Massachusetts voters] will see, if it is Ed Markey or if it is [Reps. Mike] Capuano or [Stephen] Lynch or any of these others, what you will see is a candidate of substance on issues that are important that will take the fight, just as Elizabeth Warren did, on the substance," he said.
And the substance, Walsh argued, is the feasibility of President Obama's second-term agenda.
Ron Kaufman, the Massachusetts GOP's national committeeman, told the Associated Press that Brown could again get a boost from voters frustrated with Washington dysfunction.
"If they really want to slow down the president, this would be the way to do it," he said.
Walsh said Massachusetts voters had made it clear that they supported Obama's second-term agenda, and that they would consequently be disinclined to back Brown if that's in fact the case.
"Sending him back now would only give more strength, send reinforcements, to [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] for the Republican plan to obstruct Obama's second-term agenda," he said.
Massachusetts voters broke overwhelmingly for Obama in 2012, electing him with more than 60 percent of the vote. Warren defeated Brown by a much smaller margin, a little less than 7 percentage points.
But Walsh's argument is one that worked for Democrats in 2012: They attempted to tie Brown to a potential Republican majority in the Senate, arguing that a vote for Brown was as much a vote for McConnell as majority leader. That argument may be more difficult to make this time around, however, as the Senate majority no longer hangs in the balance. Democrats hold 53 of the seats, and two Independents caucus with their party.
Walsh said, though, that it wouldn't make sense for Massachusetts voters
to send Brown back to office when just months prior they supported
"I think the voters here are not going to want to send Brown back to the Senate to cancel out most of Elizabeth's votes," he said.
--This post was updated at 7:43 p.m.