Republican U.S Senator Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren will square off tonight in their 3rd debate in the volatile Massachusetts Senate Race. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports
The debate will take place at Springfield Symphony Hall at 7PM. It is the only debate being held in the western part of the stat. And, it is the most crucial of the four debates in the opinion of Springfield based political consultant Anthony Cignoli.
With less than four weeks left in the campaign, tonight’s debate gives the candidates a chance to rework strategies and test messages in an attempt to build momentum toward what each hopes will be an election day victory.
The Springfield debate was organized by a consortium of media organizations, universities , and the Springfield Public Forum. Organizers say they’ve crafted questions that are designed to get Brown and Warren to explain their stands on key issues. The debate is being moderated by Jim Madigan, the public affairs director of WGBY-TV, the Springfield PBS station.
Free tickets were distributed for tonight’s debate and organizers expect the hall, which seats about 1200 to be full.
Following the first debate, the Brown campaign launched TV ads about Warren’s undocumented claims to Native American heritage and whether she used it for affirmative action purposes in her career, something she’s repeatedly denied. After the second debate,last week Brown’s campaign targeted Warren’s legal work for Traveler’s Insurance in case involving compensation for asbestos workers.
Warren’s campaign responded this week with ads featuring the family members of people stricken by asbestos related illness.
Voters have picked up on the negative vibes in the senate race, according to Tim Vercellotti director of the Polling Institute at Western New England University. In its most recent poll released last weekend, 64 percent of likely voters described the race as somewhat or very negative.
Polls show the race remains neck and neck. The Western New England University poll released Sunday had Warren ahead by five points. A MassINC poll released yesterday had Brown up by 3 points.
Tonight’s debate in Springfield will bring Brown and Warren to the state’s third largest city for just the second time, each, since July 4th. A review of the candidate’s public schedules by the Boston Globe find both have made the vast majority of their campaign appearances in the greater Boston area.