Blogs > HNN > Upset! Massachusetts Votes: Republican Scott Brown Elected to the Senate

Jan 20, 2010 3:44 am


Upset! Massachusetts Votes: Republican Scott Brown Elected to the Senate



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MASSACHUSETTS SPECIAL ELECTION FOR THE US SENATE:

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Scott Brown's road to the US Senate race - Boston Globe
  • With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Brown had won 52.2 percent to Coakley's 46.8 percent. Independent Joseph L. Kennedy received 1 percent....
  • Rasmussen's exit polls:
  • Health care has been a huge issue in this election. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Brown voters say it was the most important issue in determining their vote. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Coakley voters say health care was the top issue:
  • 78% of Brown voters Strongly Oppose the health care legislation before Congress.
  • 52% of Coakley supporters Strongly Favor the health care plan. Another 41% Somewhat Favor the legislation.
  • 61% of Brown voters say deficit reduction is more important than health care reform.
  • 46% of Coakley voters say health care legislation more important than deficit reduction.
  • 86% of Coakley voters say it’s better to pass the bill before Congress rather than nothing at all.
  • 88% of Brown voters say it’s better to pass nothing at all.
  • 22% of Democrats voted for Brown. That is generally consistent with pre-election polling.
  • N?YT, 1-19-10

  • Republican Rise Voters are evenly split over which party should run Congress—a sharp comedown for the Democrats: As Barack Obama enters his second year in office amid an enduring economic downturn, voters are less optimistic about his ability to succeed and no longer clearly favor keeping the Democrats in control of Congress, according to the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll....
    Republicans are far more excited than Democrats to turn out and vote in November: 55% of Republican voters said they were"very interested" in the election, compared with 38% of Democrats.... - WSJ,

THE HEADLINES....

  • In epic upset, GOP's Brown wins Mass. Senate race: In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.
    Addressing an exuberant victory celebration Tuesday night, Brown declared he was"ready to go to Washington without delay" as the crowd chanted,"Seat him now." Democrats indicated they would, deflating a budding controversy over whether they would try to block Brown long enough to complete congressional passage of the health care plan he has promised to oppose.
    "The people of Massachusetts have spoken. We welcome Scott Brown to the Senate and will move to seat him as soon as the proper paperwork has been received," said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said he would notify the Senate on Wednesday that Brown had been elected.... - AP, 1-19-10
  • Big win for Brown Republican trounces Coakley for Senate, imperils Obama health plan: Republican Scott P. Brown pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Massachusetts political history last night, defeating Democrat Martha Coakley to become the state’s next US senator, potentially derailing President Obama's hopes for a health care overhaul. The stunning, come-from-behind victory caps a dramatic surge in recent days as Brown, a state lawmaker from Wrentham once thought to have little chance of beating a popular attorney general, roared ahead of Coakley to become the first Republican senator elected from Massachusetts since 1972. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Brown had won 52.2 percent to Coakley's 46.8 percent. Independent Joseph L. Kennedy received 1 percent.... - Boston Globe, 1-19-10
  • G.O.P. Takes Massachusetts Senate Seat: Scott Brown, a little-known Republican state senator, rode an old pickup truck and a growing sense of unease among independent voters to an extraordinary upset Tuesday night when he was elected to fill the Senate seat that was long held by Edward M. Kennedy in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts. By a decisive margin, Mr. Brown defeated Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, who had been considered a prohibitive favorite to win just over a month ago after she easily won the Democratic primary. With all precincts counted, Mr. Brown had 52 percent of the vote to Ms. Coakley’s 47 percent.... - NYT, 1-19-10
  • Brown Scores Upset Victory Over Coakley in Massachusetts Senate Race: Republican Scott Brown's victory could grind President Obama's agenda to a halt and portend unexpected losses for Democrats in the November midterms... - Fox News, 1-2-10
  • Massachusetts Senate vote may derail Obama agenda: Brown's victory made real the once unthinkable prospect of a Republican filling the seat held by Kennedy, known as the liberal lion, for almost 47 years until his death due to brain cancer last August. Before Kennedy won the seat for the first time in 1962, his older brother John held it for nearly eight years until his election as U.S. president in 1960.
    "This really does change everything, you know that?" said Mitt Romney, the former GOP governor of Massachusetts who introduced Brown at his victory rally.... - CNN, 1-20-10
  • NEWS ANALYSIS Senate defeat means Democrats need a new strategy: The healthcare overhaul will be the first issue to revisit, with polls showing the issue has turned many independent voters against the party. Job creation and debt reduction will also be affected... -
  • Democrats Won't Rush to Pass Senate Bill: Scott Brown's decisive Senate victory in Massachusetts imperiled the fate of the Democratic health care overhaul in Tuesday as House Democrats indicated they would not quickly approve a Senate-passed health care measure and send it to President Obama. After a meeting of House Democratic leaders even as Mr. Brown’s win was being declared, top lawmakers said they were weighing their options but the prospect of finishing off the debate with House passage of the Senate plan appeared to significantly diminish.... - NYT, 1-19-10
  • Democrats and Republicans get ready to run for Brown's state Senate seat: Several local politicians from both parties are considering a campaign for Scott Brown's state Senate seat now that he has won a surprising victory in Tuesday's special US Senate election.
    "We're going to contest this seat," John Walsh, chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said Tuesday before the polls closed."A lot of Democrats are looking at this seat." State Republicans also vowed to compete for the seat.... - Boston Globe, 1-19-10
  • The Democrats Hold Their Breath in Massachusetts - Time, 1-19-10
  • Analysis: Obama using populist appeals in 2010: President Barack Obama is using strikingly populist appeals to an angry electorate in Massachusetts' Senate race, a likely preview of his November strategy to curb steep Democratic Party losses in Congress and the nation's statehouses."When the chips are down, when the tough votes come, on all the fights that matter to middle-class families ... who is going to be on your side?" Obama asked Sunday, shedding his executive-like tie as he campaigned for a struggling Democratic candidate - and tested a midterm election message. - WaPo, 1-18-10
  • Last-minute TV ad buys raise the stakes in Massachusetts Senate race: Just how big are the stakes in the Massachusetts Senate race? Independent and party groups were set to spend nearly $5 million on television ads in the final weeks leading up to Tuesday's special election between state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) and state Sen. Scott Brown (R)... - WaPo, 1-17-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Text, Scott Brown's Victory Speech: The following is the prepared text of state Senator Scott Brown's remarks after winning the United States Senate race in Massachusetts, as provided by his campaign.
    State Senator Scott Brown: Thank you very much. I'll bet they can hear all this cheering down in Washington, D.C.
    And I hope they're paying close attention, because tonight the independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken.
    From the Berkshires to Boston, from Springfield to Cape Cod, the voters of this Commonwealth defied the odds and the experts. And tonight, the independent majority has delivered a great victory.
    I thank the people of Massachusetts for electing me as your next United States senator.
    Every day I hold this office, I will give all that is in me to serve you well and make you proud.
    Most of all, I will remember that while the honor is mine, this Senate seat belongs to no one person and no political party - and as I have said before, and you said loud and clear today, it is the people's seat.... - NYT, 1-19-10
  • Sarah Palin: Mr. Brown Goes to Washington... In a Pick-up Truck, No Less!: Congratulations to the new Senator-elect from Massachusetts! Scott Brown’s victory proves that the desire for real solutions transcends notions of"blue state" and"red state". Americans agree that we need to hold our politicians accountable and bring common sense to D.C.
    Recent elections have taught us that when a party in power loses its way, the American people will hold them accountable at the ballot box. Today under the Democrats, government spending is up nearly 23 percent and unemployment is higher than it’s been in a quarter of a century. For the past year they’ve built a record of broken promises, fat cat bailouts, closed-door meetings with lobbyists, sweetheart deals for corporate cronies, and midnight votes on weekends for major legislation that wasn't even read. The good citizens of Massachusetts reminded Democrats not to take them for granted.
    Americans cheered for Scott Brown's underdog campaign because they viewed his candidacy as a vote against the Democrats' health care bill. You know that there's something wrong with this legislation when opposition to it inspired a Republican victory in a state that currently has no Republicans in Congress and last sent a Republican to the Senate nearly 40 years ago.... - Facebook, 1-19-10
  • RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE STATEMENT ON SCOTT BROWN’S ELECTION TO U.S. SENATE: "Tonight, Scott Brown made history by exceeding all expectations and defeating Martha Coakley in the heart of the Democrat Party's political stronghold. I extend my sincere congratulations to Scott, the Brown family, and his team on their tremendous come from behind victory to become the first Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts in more than 30 years. His message of lower-taxes, smaller government, and fiscal responsibility clearly resonated with independent-minded voters in Massachusetts who were looking for a solution to decades of failed Democrat leadership. There is no doubt in my mind that Scott will provide the representation and leadership they have asked for and deserve.
    Now that the people of Massachusetts have made their choice clear, the Senate must move quickly to seat Senator-Elect Brown so that the people have their chosen representative in the Senate as soon as possible. Over the past year, independent voters in Virginia, New Jersey and now Massachusetts have made their voices heard by sending a clear message that they’ve had enough of the binge spending and government-growing agenda coming from Washington – Democrats everywhere are officially on notice."
  • John McCain:"Scott Brown Wins! This is truly an historic achievement. I have great fondness and respect for Scott Brown and look forward to working with him in the United States Senate." - Facebook, 1-19-10
  • Laura Bush: :George and I send our congratulations to the newest member of the United States Senate, Scott Brown of Massachusetts. At a time when Americans are faced with many challenges, the need for politicians who are prepared to stand up for what's right is greater than ever." - Facebook, 1-19-10
  • Lieberman Urges Party To Go Centrist After Mass. Election: "I think the message is from the voters of Massachusetts that people are anxious about the future and they're unhappy about what's happening in Washington," said the Connecticut Independent Democrat, during an interview on Fox News."They're anxious about the economy, the continued high unemployment. They don't like all the partisanship and deal- making here in Washington. And they're really skeptical about the health care bill."
    "So this is going to be a loud message from Massachusetts and whether it's right or wrong, I was impressed again by one of the national polls I saw yesterday that said two things; one is opposition to health care reform is very large among independents, unregistered with the party voters, and Massachusetts is thought of as a blue state and it generally does vote Democratic but almost 50% of the voters are unaffiliated so they've got the liberty to..." - Huff Post, 1-19-10
  • Robert Gibbs: Obama 'Surprised And Frustrated' By Mass. Senate Race: "Obviously the president went on Sunday, lent his support for Martha Coakley talked about why he believed she would be the best senator -- someone who has fought for middle-class, working-class folks in Massachusetts. We are going to have plenty of time to get in to the back and forth of all this and I prefer to do that when we know what the result is."
    "I don't think the president believes that... health care is a priority for him now. It will be a priority for him tomorrow."
    "I think there is a tremendous amount of upset and anger in this country about where we are economically. That is not a surprise to us in this administration, because in many ways we are here because of that upset." - Huff Post, 1-19-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS' COMMENTS

  • Thomas Whalen: Experts: Race aftermath will sink Attorney General, buoy Scott Brown: "This is the coveted prize - the pelt of Ted Kennedy’s seat," said Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political historian."There'll be speculation that the 2012 Republican ticket will be (Sarah) Palin-Brown," Whalen said. - Boston Herald, 1-19-10
  • Diane Ravitch Historian of education, NYU and Brookings: The Massachusetts race was about the Obama health care program. Voters in Massachusetts already have health care, so they didn't want to be taxed for a new program that had no impact on them.
    I am a reasonably intelligent citizen. I read the newspapers every day. I am inclined to support health care for all Americans. But I have no idea what is in the President's health care plan. No one has tried to explain it. Others must be as confused as I am.
    I do not like the fact that the President and the Democratic party want to ram through a major piece of legislation that many Americans don't understand (like me) and oppose (like a majority).
    Massachusetts was a bellwether. The President should pay attention. - Politico, 1-19-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton: Somewhere Senator Kennedy is shedding a tear. The symbolic blow of the seat of a liberal icon going from blue to red is huge. But much more important the practical impact—of losing 60 votes in the Senate after a year during which even that did not assure a smooth legislative terrain--is even greater. President Obama will have to work some magic if he wants to move all the bills—including health care—that have been stalled in the Senate. What is worse for Democrats is that this is not even the midterms. Those are just around the corner. - Politico, 1-19-10
  • >Mary Frances Berry Professor of American Social Thought and History, U. Penn.: The Democratic Party should be embarrassed by Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts. Blaming Coakley is easy but unhelpful. Essentially, the Democrats in Congress and the President have been too clever by half. On health care reform, they have made too many compromises and end up with no committed group willing to fight for their weakly held beliefs. It is better to have some one group willing to fight for you than everyone willing to watch you succeed or fail. The left is disaffected by the lack of a public option and the abortion compromises. The right and center are upset by the lack of cost controls and the deal-making to buy off senators one by one. The unemployment numbers and the bail-outs and the deficit create consternation in all quarters. Moving quickly to ram health care reform through is attractive in overall policy terms but some Democrats have to feel politically imperiled. - Politico, 1-19-10
  • A revolution begins: It was - for the second time in Massachusetts history - the shot heard round the world, or at the very least from coast to coast and surely in the halls of Congress. Scott Brown won this one fair and square with his down-to-earth charm, his hard work and his forthright position on issues - and with the help of that much-disparaged by the opposition pick-up truck. But it is also true that Brown was the right candidate at the right time with the right message. And it's that message that the White House and congressional Democrats can no longer ignore.... - Boston Herald, 1-20-10
  • You made the call! Democrats hear an overdue message: Congratulations, you did it!
    It wasn't Scott Brown, or Martha Coakley or even Dick Cheney’s Vote-Stealing-And-Weather-Control Machine. It was you. You won this election.
    Not to take anything away from Sen.-elect Brown (the phrase just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?), or to lessen the value of those 200,000 miles he put on the Truck Heard 'Round The World. He has real political talent, and he's going to need it to survive 2012 with Barack Obama at the top of the Democratic ticket. But yesterday's once-in-a-generation, never-saw-it-coming, dance-in-the-streets victory for democracy is all yours.... - Boston Herald, 1-20-10
  • JON KELLER: The Backlash Is Coming! The Backlash Is Coming! People in Massachusetts think they're at the leading edge of politics. That's not good news for Democrats: With characteristic hubris, people in this state like to think they've been at the leading edge of American politics since the"shot heard 'round the world" in 1775. And in the past few years, we've given the nation a preview of Barack Obama's presidential campaign with Deval Patrick's successful 2006 bid for governor; provided a critical boost for Mr. Obama's candidacy in the form of an endorsement by Edward Kennedy; and enacted a health-care law that is a template for ObamaCare. But hubris has yielded to shock here at the possibility that the next political trend the Bay State might foreshadow is a voter backlash against the Democratic Party.... - WSJ, 1-20-10
  • Analysis: GOP win forces review of Obama's mandate: The stunning Republican victory in Tuesday's Massachusetts Senate race will force Democrats to fundamentally rethink the meaning of Barack Obama's election to the presidency, especially the notion that Americans want more government help in matters such as obtaining health insurance.
    Scott Brown's win in a liberal state will do more than vastly complicate Obama's bid to overhaul the U.S. health care system and pass climate-change legislation. It will prompt politicians of every stripe to redouble their efforts to understand voters' anger and desires ahead of the November elections for Congress, governorships and state legislatures.
    Many Americans saw the 2008 election as a repudiation of George W. Bush's presidency, with Obama as the fresh new leader promising to harness the government to expand health coverage, discipline banks and stimulate the moribund economy.
    But Brown's victory over Democrat Martha Coakley suggests that many voters still harbor suspicions or outright resentment of the federal government, no matter who's in charge... - AP, 1-19-10
  • ADAM NAGOURNEY: News Analysis A Year Later, Voters Send a Different Message: By Special elections come and go. And the party that wins the White House one year ordinarily loses seats in the next Congressional election that comes along. But what happened in Massachusetts on Tuesday was no ordinary special election. Scott Brown, a Republican state senator for only five years, shocked and arguably humiliated the White House and the Democratic Party establishment by defeating Martha Coakley in the race for a United States Senate seat. He did it one day short of a year after President Obama stood on the steps of the United States Capitol, looking across a mass of faces that celebrated the potential of his presidency.... - NYT, 1-19-10
  • News Analysis: Voter anger caught fire in final days: Voter anxiety and resentment, building for months in a troubled economy, exploded like a match on dry kindling in the final days of the special election for US Senate. In arguably the most liberal state in the nation, a Republican - and a conservative one at that - won and will crash the Bay State's all-Democratic delegation with a mandate to kill the health care overhaul pending in Congress. It is difficult to overstate the significance of Scott Brown's victory because so much was at stake. From the agenda of President Obama and the legacy of the late Edward M. Kennedy to a referendum on the Democratic monopolies of power on Capitol and Beacon hills, voters in a lopsidedly Democratic state flooded the polls on a dreary winter day to turn conventional wisdom on its head.... - Boston Globe, 1-19-10
  • LANNY J. DAVIS: Blame the Left for Massachusetts Democrats should be willing to seek common-ground reforms: Liberal Democrats might attempt to spin the shocking victory of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts by claiming that the loss was a result of a poor campaign by Martha Coakley. Would that it were so. This was a defeat not of the messenger, but of the message—and the sooner progressive Democrats face up to that fact, the better. It's the substance, stupid! - WSJ, 1-19-10
  • DAVID W. BRADY, DANIEL P. KESSLER AND DOUGLAS RIVERS: Health Care Is Hurting Democrats New polling data show that voters know exactly where candidates stand: The majority party normally loses seats in midterm elections, but the Republican resurgence of recent months is more than a conventional midterm rebound. How can a little known Republican run a competitive Senate campaign in Massachusetts? The culprit is the unpopularity of health reform, and it means that Democrats will face even worse problems later this year in less liberal places than Massachusetts.... - WSJ, 1-19-10




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