US Senator Scott Brown, stepping up his efforts to confront Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic challenger, sent her a letter yesterday, calling on her to denounce campaign ads from outside groups.
Warren reacted quickly with her own challenge, suggesting in her own letter that the campaigns draft an “enforceable agreement’’ on the issue. “We have the opportunity to set an example for the rest of the country. Let’s do it,’’ she wrote.
While the Republican party and Brown’s campaign aides have engaged Warren directly since she entered the race last year, Brown’s letter was one of the most prominent examples of the senator himself confronting his challenger.
The senator is officially launching his reelection campaign next week in Worcester.
Brown’s letter was pointed. “It seems the only third-party ads you think are unfair are those that criticize you.’’
“Rather than adopt an elitist attitude with one set of rules for yourself and another for everyone else, I urge you once again to join me in calling for an end to all spending by third-party groups,’’ Brown wrote in the letter, which was addressed to “Professor Warren.’’
An official in the Warren campaign said she left Brown a voice-mail message on his cellphone yesterday, in addition to sending out her own challenge.
“If you are serious about stopping the political games and getting to the hard work of keeping out third-party ads and independent groups, I’m ready,’’ she wrote in her letter. She added that her campaign manager could meet with his manager to craft an agreement that would include “consequences’’ for the campaign that failed to honor it.
“Too often, candidates call for an end to third-party influence but their words are just that, and their calls are more empty promises and politics as usual,’’ she wrote.
Brown’s campaign manager, Jim Barnett, said he would agree to meet with the Warren campaign, but once again called on the candidate to denounce ads from political action committees.
“We’re pleased that Professor Warren appears to have finally had a change of heart about the negative influence of outside special interests, and will be further encouraged when and if she actually joins Senator Brown’s call for outside groups on both sides to cease their interference in Massachusetts,’’ he said.
Brown’s record has already been attacked by two groups spending $3 million on ads picking apart his record on environmental issues.
Warren has defended the attacks on Brown as record-based. But Brown, in his letter yesterday, pointed to a FactCheck.org assessment calling a round of ads against him by the League of Conservation Voters misleading, because they ignored part of his record.
Warren too has been attacked in $1.2 million worth of ads funded by Crossroads GPS, a group founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove.
The Crossroads campaign depicted Warren, the anti-Wall Street crusader, as a promoter of the banks bailout, even though her position on an oversight committee put her in a role as a critic of its execution.
The Senate race, which began heating up more than a year before this November’s election, is expected to set new marks in spending for Massachusetts.
This week, Warren said she raised $5.7 million in the last three months of 2011 and Brown said he raised $3.2 million. Brown has amassed a $12.8 million war chest, compared with $6 million for Warren.Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.