For steadfast Warren supporters, the Brown-Warren matchup has been a source of consternation and frustration. Brown has deftly sidestepped partisan attempts to paint him as an extreme and unreasonable figure. Moreover, he has continued to enjoy the support of a wide variety of people. But, some on the left have been particularly surprised by one group backing the senator: the “Obama Supporters for Scott Brown” coalition.
This group, which also has a branch in Springfield, has been diligently working out of an office in Grove Hall, located in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. A campaign office for the Republican candidate in a minority area has prompted some nasty reactions. On one occasion, a group of Elizabeth Warren supporters had gathered with signs across from the Brown office. One of them shouted, “You know those field people and those house people. This election is about that.” Although Warren’s campaign has firmly condemned the remark, this has done little to quell the hostility emanating from some progressive circles.
Reaction from the media has not always been enlightened either. The Boston Globe’s Michael Levenson recently wrote a piece that revealed unfortunate views on race and politics. In it, he refers to Brown’s efforts in a minority neighborhood as "a highly unusual effort" because he is Republican. Further, Levenson portrays the Grove Hall office as a slightly ragtag operation, which was tardily thrown together. The coup de grâce is the implication that paid staff are primarily motivated by money as opposed to enthusiasm for Scott Brown.
The reality is markedly different, however. Benjamin F. Thompson, who leads the “Obama Supporters for Scott Brown” coalition was the chairman of the Boston Election Commission under Raymond L. Flynn, the former mayor of Boston. Robert A. Lewis, who runs the Grove Hall office, is well-seasoned in politics and the nonprofit sector as is David Eastmond, a Grove Hall staffer. In addition, Mr. Lewis makes it unequivocally clear that his office, like all of Scott Brown’s offices, operates on respect for and belief in the senator. To that end, he has a few words for partisan detractors of the group, “You can't take our votes for granted. This election is about having a choice, and we're letting people know that they have one.”