With an ever-tightening special election race for the Massachusetts Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy, President Obama, after signalling for a long time that he would stay out of the state, has decided to go stump for Democrat Martha Coakley on Sunday. The decision underlines how far Scott Brown has come after trailing Coakley by 30 points a few months ago, and it’s more than evident Democrats nationwide are in panic mode over the close nature of a race that should have been a slam dunk in one of the bluest states in America.
Scott Brown has a lot of late momentum, which is more than helpful in any election, and Coakley has been making a series of campaign gaffes in one of the most critical weeks for her campaign. After snorting at Brown’s handshakes outside of Fenway and the brouhaha over an aide’s shove of a Weekly Standard reporter, her campaign is now utilizing an image of the World Trade Center in an attack ad highlighting Brown’s Wall Street connections just days after Sen. Chuck Schumer calls pro-choice Brown a “far-right teabagger.”
All of it smacks of last-minute desperation as the polls are all swinging Brown’s direction. Brown has a 4-point lead in a Suffolk University poll, a 15-point lead in a Pajamas Media/CrossTarget poll, the Brown campaign’s internal poll gives him an 11-point advantage, and hell, even Coakley’s own internal poll gives Brown a 3-point edge.
Yet, despite all this, I can’t yet predict an upset by Scott Brown, not in Massachusetts, a Democratic stronghold for decades and a state with a 3-1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans. Coakley is a terrible candidate, but the magic “D” after her name may just be enough to get her across the finish line. I probably won’t finally believe a Brown win until I see it Tuesday night.
But even if Scott Brown loses, Democrats nationwide should take pause at the fact that a Republican could give the Democrat such a run for her money in a deep blue seat in a battle for Ted Kennedy’s seat. At that level it becomes more than a battle between two candidates and reflects a growing unhappiness with the direction of the country and the agenda of Congress. But more on that later.