Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren Spar Over Ancestry

The Massachusetts senatorial candidates went head-to-head with renewed vigor this week over Warren's assertion of Native American heritage

One of the most hotly contested political battles in the country is getting ugly. Well, it’s getting uglier.

Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Democrat Elizabeth Warren are at each other’s throats again this week over the issue of Warren’s heritage -- a topic far from things that seem to matter most to Americans, like the economy, but one that nevertheless seems to be captivating voters.

For background, Warren claims she has some Native American ancestry. It’s something she said she learned from her family, but she hasn’t backed up her assertion with any paperwork. Claiming that Warren has received unfair professional advantage from her claim of minority status, Brown insists she should back up her claim with records. The Washington Post has a detailed version of the fight’s ins and outs.

If the issue had receded to the back burner, it came roaring back again last week when, during a debate with Warren, Brown claimed, “Professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color -- and as you can see, she is not,” according to a portion of the debate cited in The Post.

“I didn’t get an advantage because of my background,” rebutted Warren.

On Monday, Brown released a TV ad on the topic, and Warren responded with her own, in which she maintains she never received preferential treatment in her career because of her claims about her background.

Then, in a circus-like twist, a video surfaced in which people are seen making stereotypical Native American sounds and gestures outside of a recent rally. The group allegedly included Republican staffers, which forced Brown to come out against the actions amid calls for an apology from the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

If all of this sounds like a big distraction from the real political substance that affects constituents’ lives -- well yes, it probably is.

Come Election Day, we’ll see whether all of this hoopla benefited or hurt either candidate. And immediately afterward, we hope the victor puts all of the silliness aside and gets to work on the issues that affect their constituents’ lives -- and fast.

WATCH: Getting Personal with Elizabeth Warren


Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and iVillage’s Chief Election News Blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @alicedubin.

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