On January 19, 2010 the people of Massachusetts will go to the polls to elect a Senator to fill the seat held for so long by the now deceased “Liberal Lion”, Teddy Kennedy. The outcome should be interesting indeed. It is the first election with National implications since the Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial elections. You know, the elections that Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats won because their candidate in NY 23 defeated a third party candidate.
The Democrat candidate in Massachusetts is the Oh-So-Liberal Martha Coakley, a popular State Attorney General. The Republican Candidate is Scott Brown, a lesser-known State Senator. Scott is, by Massachusetts standards, rather Conservative, giving the voters a pretty clear-cut choice.
The fly in the ointment is that the Massachusetts electorate leans heavily Democratic. So much so that, in 2008, John Kerry was re-elected with 65.8% of the vote, almost a two to one edge over his Republican challenger.
All indications are that Ms. Coakley should win by a large majority without so much as breaking a sweat.
I have visited the campaign websites of both candidates, and found a very large difference in the presentations. Brown, on his “Issues” pages, clearly states his positions on the leading issues of the day. He opposes same sex marriage, he opposes “Obamacare”, he opposes illegal immigration, he opposes “Cap and Trade”, etc. By contrast, Attorney General Coakley, in typical Liberal fashion, offers us nothing but generalities.
There is also a Libertarian third party candidate in the race. Coincidentally, his name is Joseph Kennedy, but he is, reportedly, not related to the Klan Kennedy. However, in a state with an electorate dumb enough to repeatedly send Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barney Frank to Washington, you never know what can happen.
Scott Brown, of course, will collect the votes of all three of Massachusetts’ Conservative voters. Anything beyond that, I think we can safely assume, will be anti-Obama votes, just as we saw in New Jersey and Virginia. It is also noteworthy that, apparently, Coakley has not asked Obama to come and campaign for her.
Now, I am not suggesting that Scott Brown could win this election. That would simply be a bridge too far. But the National spotlight will be on Ms. Coakley’s margin of victory. Anything less than a Kerry-type landslide will start even more alarm bells ringing in a Democrat party that is already seeing Representatives retire rather than stand for re-election next year, as well as (so far) one highly publicized defection.
We will know the answer in a little over three weeks. If Democrats can’t win convincingly in the Citadel of Liberal Democrats, the National implications will be enormous.