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Mass. Dems, GOP study elections for keys to 2012

Associated Press | 11/30/2010, 6:47 p.m.

Republicans are also weighing the two elections as they look ahead to Brown’s re-election campaign.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a top Brown adviser, said Democrats deserve credit for running a strong campaign, but he noted that Patrick still garnered less than half of all votes cast — 48 percent — in the four-way race.

“I think the last election underscored how difficult it is for a Republican to win in Massachusetts, even against a weak Democrat,” Fehrnstrom said. “People like (former Govs.) Bill Weld, Mitt Romney and Scott Brown are the exception, not the rule.”

Brown also has some significant advantages.

Polls show he is popular with Massachusetts voters. He’s adopted a more moderate GOP stance by occasionally breaking with his party. And he has an enormous fundraising edge, with more than $6.7 million in his account.

Adding to the mix is the fact that 2012 is a presidential election year, which typically drives up voter turnout. That election could also include Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and possible GOP presidential contender.

“Sen. Brown knows he has his work cut out for him, and that’s why he’s not taking anything for granted,” Fehrnstrom said.

Walsh said a higher presidential year turnout could bode well for Democrats.

“In Massachusetts, more voters generally means more Democrats,” he said.

Associated Press