This week Senate Republicans blocked President Obama's nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Only two Republicans broke ranks -- Olympia Snowe of Maine and Scott Brown of Massachusetts -- and both senators are up for re-election next year.Continue reading.
Ms. Snowe should win handily if she isn't toppled by a primary challenger. Mr. Brown's re-election prospects, by contrast, are shakier. Two new polls show the GOP freshman trailing Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who helped establish the CFPB and is expected to be the Democratic nominee. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst gives Ms. Warren a four-point lead and a University of Massachusetts-Lowell/Boston Herald poll has her up by seven points. Three months ago, most polls showed Mr. Brown slightly ahead. The senator's approval rating has also fallen by eight points to 45%, though his favorables are still in positive territory and exceed Ms. Warren's.
While the poll results may be disconcerting for Mr. Brown and Senate Republicans, they're not unexpected. Ms. Warren's campaign has spent $1.5 million on an ad that portrays her as a defender of the middle class. And the League of Conservation Voters has dumped $2 million on spots that tar Mr. Brown as a Washington insider. The real surprise is that Mr. Brown still leads Ms. Warren, 53-37, with independents. Because Republicans constitute less than 15% of the Massachusetts electorate, Mr. Brown will probably have to win more than two-thirds of the independent vote and probably pick up some Democrats as well.
VIDEO HAT TIP: Los Angeles Times, "Elizabeth Warren blasts 'ridiculous' charge in ad by Karl Rove group."