By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
CONCORD – U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s re-election campaign tried to keep the heat on Republican Scott Brown on Monday by calling on him to agree to keep outside money out of the 2014 campaign.
Shaheen campaign manager Mike Vlacich revealed in a campaign memo that it was the candidate’s idea to propose this Peoples’ Pledge because it had worked so well during Brown’s Massachusetts re-election campaign in 2012.
“When Senator Shaheen first told me she wanted to propose the same People’s Pledge agreed to by Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren in their Massachusetts Senate race in 2012, I initially balked,” Vlacich said in the memo obtained by The Telegraph.
“It was not something I had figured into our campaign plan. But Senator Shaheen really admired that Brown and Warren were able to stop the third-party attack ads already polluting the Massachusetts airwaves 11 months before their election.”
Shaheen called upon Brown to sign the pledge within hours Friday night of Brown confirming he was creating an exploratory campaign to run for the Senate in 2014.
Brown turned down the offer and called Shaheen “hypocritical” for making it.
“Before I even thought of becoming a candidate, Jeanne Shaheen’s allies in Washington were running negative ads against me for months. And right now, while I’m meeting with the people of New Hampshire, she is on the West Coast raising money so third- party groups in DC will have money to run even more outside negative ads against me,” Brown responded.
“It’s hard to view Jeanne Shaheen’s actions as anything other than hypocritical and self-serving.”
Thus far, more independent money from outside groups has been spent attacking Shaheen than Brown.
These groups have spent more than $1.5 million on ads on his behalf and $360,000 has been spent against Brown.
“In 2012, Scott Brown said the people of Massachusetts deserve better than to have the airwaves polluted with third-party ads. The people of New Hampshire deserve better, too, and we hope Scott Brown will agree,” Vlacich said.
Under the pledge, if any third-party groups violates it, the benefiting candidate has to donate half of what gets spent to the charity of the opposing candidate’s choosing.
In 2012, the pledge worked in the Brown-Warren race as outside groups ended their attack ad spending.
The memo emerged just as the second, independent poll in recent days had Shaheen, the one-term Democrat, holding onto a double-digit leader over Brown.
Shaheen led Brown, 50 percent to 38 percent with the other 12 percent undecided, according to the random survey done by the American Research Group of Manchester.
For all practical purposes, the result remained unchanged from an ARG poll done in November in which Shaheen led, 48-38 percent.
Behind the numbers, however, President Dick Bennett said in this most recent poll that Republican support for Brown had firmed up with those identifying themselves as Republicans favoring him, 75-13 percent.
On the flip side, Shaheen had beefed up backing among independent or swing voters who went with her over Brown, 49-34 percent.
“Independents are critical in every election here and Shaheen got 60 percent of that vote when she defeated John E. Sununu back in 2008,” Bennett added.
The poll of 533 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.
In the same ARG poll released Monday, Gov. Maggie Hassan leads Republican contender Andrew Hemingway, 45-30 percent.