Na­tional groups step away from Mass. race

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

It was sup­posed to be a na­tional fight with out­side groups pour­ing mil­lions of dol­lars into a nasty ad war, but so far U.S. Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren’s re-elec­tion con­test has fallen short of the hype.

With less than four weeks be­fore Elec­tion Day, War­ren’s race has drawn sur­pris­ingly lit­tle in­ter­est from con­ser­va­tive groups and su­per PACs look­ing to dent the Mass­a­chu­setts se­na­tor in the run-up to her ex­pected 2020 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Pres­i­dent Trump has also re­mained silent on the race. Not even a sin­gle tweet. It’s still pos­si­ble Trump could travel to Mass­a­chu­setts to cam­paign for GOP chal­lenger Ge­off Diehl, but it would come rel­a­tively late in the game.

And lib­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions have also largely stayed out of the fray — let­ting War­ren fight her own bat­tle against Diehl.

Diehl him­self has waged an ag­gres­sive cam­paign, slam­ming War­ren every chance he gets, but it’s been with­out any as­sis­tance from out­side groups. With the ex­cep­tion of a few en­dorse­ments from law en­force­ment groups and GOP stal­warts like ex-Red Sox hurler Curt Schilling, Diehl has been largely on his own.

Rather than jump­ing at a chance to em­bar­rass the po­ten­tial 2020 Demo­cratic stan­dard bearer, GOP groups have been fo­cused on hold­ing the House and the Se­nate past Novem­ber’s midterms. But by tak­ing a pass on the Bay State race so far, na­tional con­ser­va­tive groups have essen­tially given a free pass to War­ren, de­cid­ing in­stead to fo­cus on the bat­tle­ground states where Repub­li­cans have a chance to knock off in­cum­bent Democrats. That may change over the next few weeks but there’s no signs now of any na­tional or­ga­nized ef­fort to rough up the Mass­a­chu­setts se­na­tor.

War­ren’s out­side help has been largely lim­ited to some Face­book ads from moveon. org, not that she needs much as­sis­tance.

Polls con­tinue to show her hold­ing a com­fort­able, dou­bledigit lead over the Repub­li­can state law­maker.

War­ren has largely played it safe, choos­ing to ig­nore most of Diehl’s at­tacks and fo­cus in­stead on bash­ing Trump.

War­ren has raised mil­lions of dol­lars for her cam­paign by be­com­ing a ve­hi­cle for the an­tiTrump re­sis­tance. She clearly per­ceives the pres­i­dent as her real op­po­nent, and she is prob­a­bly right.

Diehl may have hoped for some help from na­tional groups, but he’ll have to rely on his own cam­paign for now. He’s raised enough money to mount a small TV ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, though he’s yet to un­leash any ads since he won the GOP pri­mary last month.

The real wild card is Trump. GOP sources say the White House is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing send­ing the pres­i­dent to Mass­a­chu­setts to cam­paign against War­ren, but so far no de­ci­sion’s been made.

“Stay tuned,” one GOP con­sul­tant said.

Trump has yet to even tweet an en­dorse­ment of Diehl, though the can­di­date has trav­eled to the White House to con­sult with Trump po­lit­i­cal ad­vis­ers.

But Trump is un­pre­dictable and would no doubt rel­ish a chance to get in the ring with War­ren.

The ques­tion is whether the White House de­cides to de­vote any re­sources to a race that it’s likely to lose.

STAFF PHOTO BY CHRIS CHRISTO

ON HER OWN: U.S. Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren speaks at a town hall at Hiber­nian Hall in Roxbury yes­ter­day. War­ren has hinted at run­ning for pres­i­dent in 2020.

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