Massachusetts is holding a special election to select a successor to Ted Kennedy. To the surprise of many, the Republican candidate, Scott Brown, appears to have made a competitive race in a traditional Democratic state — one that has not had a Republican Senator since 1972.
Last night, Brown, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, and a third-party candidate named Kennedy had their final debate of the campaign and evidently had a spirited exchange of views on a number of topics, including the “health care reform” legislation. The debate moderator, pundit David Gergen, asked Brown about how he could vote against health care reform if he sat in Ted Kennedy’s seat. Brown responded: “Well, with all due respect it’s not the Kennedy seat, it’s not the Democrats’ seat, it’s the people’s seat.” A report on the debate is here.
It is hard to believe that the political climate has changed to the point that a Republican could be elected to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, but at last one poll showed Brown leading by a percentage point. (Another poll, which used a different turnout model, showed Coakley comfortably ahead.) A lot of people will be closely watching Massachusetts next Tuesday.