Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren are set to begin their first debate tonight at 7pm. This debate will be crucial in setting the tone for the rest of the campaign.
Warren must make a conscious effort to tie herself to her party and President Obama. Obama’s support may be in question in other parts of the country, but in Massachusetts he is polling strong. Obama has nearly 60% support in the state, and Warren has already witnessed considerable post-convention support. Warren should be careful not to come off too preachy, yet she should show her strength in areas of policy and substance.
Brown should also remain conscious of not coming out too aggressively against Warren in fear that he may turn off the independent voters that he desperately needs. Brown’s single biggest advantage is his likability, and he should go out of his way to maintain his perceived image as a moderate Republican. Brown should also make an effort to steer clear of aligning himself with GOP initiatives as polling has shown that this does not play well with the majority of Massachusetts voters. As long as Brown remains calm and composed, this debate is his to win.
There will be no panelists and the debate will be moderated and refereed by Jon Keller. Keller is likely to remain neutral, pose questions, and not follow up unless the candidate blatantly ducks a line of questioning. Keller has stated it will be up to the candidates to elicit further questioning.
All eyes, ears, and certainly all Massachusetts residents should be tuned in tonight to witness a compelling and contentious debate. Let’s see how the most expensive senate race in state history plays out in just a matter of minutes. Strap in, here we go!