Republican Brown wins Ted Kennedy's Senate seat

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010 9:22 PM
Last updated 11:28 PM
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BOSTON — In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in a U.S. Senate election today that left President Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marred the end of his first year in office.

State Sen. Scott Brown defeated Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, and Joseph L. Kennedy, a Libertarian running as an independent in today's special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.  CHARLES KRUPA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHARLES KRUPA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
State Sen. Scott Brown defeated Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, and Joseph L. Kennedy, a Libertarian running as an independent in today's special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

The loss by the once-favored Coakley for the seat that the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy held for nearly half a century signaled big political problems for the president's party this fall, when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.

More immediately, Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the president's health care legislation and the rest of Obama's agenda. Democrats needed Coakley to win to have a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters.

Democratic fingerpointing began more than a week ago as polls started showing a tight race, with the White House accusing Coakley of a poor campaign and the Coakley camp laying t some of the blame on the administration. Obama flew to Boston for last-ditch personal campaigning on Sunday.

With 87 percent of precincts counted, Brown led Coakley, 52 percent to 47 percent.

The election transformed reliably Democratic Massachusetts into a battleground state. One day shy of the first anniversary of Obama's swearing-in, it played out amid a backdrop of animosity and resentment from voters over persistently high unemployment, industry bailouts, exploding federal budget deficits and partisan wrangling over health care.

For weeks considered a long shot, Brown seized on such discontent to overtake Coakley in the final stretch of the campaign. Surveys showed his candidacy energized Republicans, including backers of the grass-roots "tea party" movement, while attracting disappointed Democrats and independents uneasy with where they felt the nation was heading.

Turnout was relatively heavy for a special election despite a mix of snow and rain showers across the state virtually all day.

Though he wasn't on the ballot, the president was on many voters' minds.

"I voted for Obama because I wanted change. ... I thought he'd bring it to us, but I just don't like the direction that he's heading," said John Triolo, 38, a registered independent who voted in Fitchburg.

He said his frustrations, including what he considered the too-quick pace of health care legislation, led him to vote for Brown.

But Robert Hickman, 55, of New Bedford, said he backed Coakley "to stay on the same page with the president."

Even before the first results were announced, administration officials were privately accusing Coakley of a poorly run campaign and playing down the notion that Obama or a toxic political landscape had much to do with the outcome.

Coakley's supporters, in turn, blamed that very environment, saying her lead dropped significantly after the Senate passed health care reform shortly before Christmas and after the Christmas Day attempted airliner bombing that Obama himself said showed a failure of his administration.

While votes were still being cast, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president "was both surprised and frustrated ... not pleased" at how competitive the race had become in the final weeks.

Wall Street watched the election closely. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 116 points, and analysts attributed the increase to hopes the election would make it harder for Obama to make his changes to health care. That eased investor concerns that profits at companies such as insurers and drug makers would suffer.

Comments (140)

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FallingLeaves
26
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FallingLeaves 01/19/10 - 10:24 pm
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Oh YES!!!!! Hurray! Hurray!

Oh YES!!!!! Hurray! Hurray!

justthefacts
18055
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justthefacts 01/19/10 - 10:28 pm
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Scottie Brown!!

Scottie Brown!!

Emerydan
9
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Emerydan 01/19/10 - 10:29 pm
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If this can happen in

If this can happen in Massachusetts, then who knows? Maybe the poltical machine in Augusta can actually be defeated.

crackerjack
135
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crackerjack 01/19/10 - 10:30 pm
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What a wonderful thing to

What a wonderful thing to brighten your 1 year anniversary tomorrow Mr. President.

fishman960
1420
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fishman960 01/19/10 - 10:30 pm
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Yeeeeeeeehaaaaaawwwwww!

Yeeeeeeeehaaaaaawwwwww!

Dixieman
10430
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Dixieman 01/19/10 - 10:31 pm
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Yeah!! Now we can look

Yeah!! Now we can look forward to the mainstream media explaining that it was all due to "anger" and "fear" never "principles" and "truth". Brilliant victory, and I hope the Dems will learn all the wrong lessons from it as they usually do.

fishman960
1420
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fishman960 01/19/10 - 10:33 pm
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It was Bush's fault!

It was Bush's fault!

KSL
106299
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KSL 01/19/10 - 10:34 pm
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It's unreal for a Republican

It's unreal for a Republican to win that seat in Mass.

crackerjack
135
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crackerjack 01/19/10 - 10:35 pm
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Oh, I forgot it's Bush's

Oh, I forgot it's Bush's fault.

Irish
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Irish 01/19/10 - 10:35 pm
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Happy Anniversary DNC

Happy Anniversary DNC

Irish
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Irish 01/19/10 - 10:36 pm
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Can't wait to see the spin on

Can't wait to see the spin on this, we vote again nov 2010

Irish
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Irish 01/19/10 - 10:37 pm
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Wher's RCR ?

Wher's RCR ?

crackerjack
135
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crackerjack 01/19/10 - 10:38 pm
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But wait! The Dems haven't

But wait! The Dems haven't counted the 119,000 Deceased Write-In Votes Yet.

fishman960
1420
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fishman960 01/19/10 - 10:40 pm
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He was just in the R & R's

He was just in the R & R's Irish. Did you read his post?

crackerjack
135
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crackerjack 01/19/10 - 10:41 pm
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The People of Massachusetts

The People of Massachusetts have spoken.

fishman960
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fishman960 01/19/10 - 10:42 pm
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And spoken well.

And spoken well.

SC-LSU-Fan
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SC-LSU-Fan 01/19/10 - 10:45 pm
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Coakley conceded, there will

Coakley conceded, there will be no re-count!! And Howard Dean is blaming it on Bush. Go figure. Oh well. Blame it on Satan if you want. It doesn't matter!!!

Irish
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Irish 01/19/10 - 10:46 pm
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I missed the rant from rcr

I missed the rant from rcr was it profound as usual ?

KSL
106299
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KSL 01/19/10 - 10:47 pm
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Having lived amongst them for

Having lived amongst them for almost a year, the people of Mass, I am surprised, but so proud since that is where the line of my family tree landed that I know the most about. They would be very glad after their first year there and the failed communal idea that didn't work.

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 01/19/10 - 10:48 pm
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This should be a precursor

This should be a precursor warning to the dems on what to expect in the mid-terms.

J.W.
2
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J.W. 01/19/10 - 10:49 pm
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The Obama machine has already

The Obama machine has already got the spin Doctors working overtime. They willl blame it all on Coakley's running a bad campaign. They will never admit fault.

Irish
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Irish 01/19/10 - 10:49 pm
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They're to dumb to read the

They're to dumb to read the tea Leaves (get it) someone splain that to RCR

BetanInyoe
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BetanInyoe 01/19/10 - 10:50 pm
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Anybody seen jack234's train?

Anybody seen jack234's train? I was hoping to hitch a ride tonight.

tiredofit1
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tiredofit1 01/19/10 - 10:52 pm
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People, both parties, are

People, both parties, are ready for a change. The Presidents "more government now" approach is not making anyone happy.

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 01/19/10 - 10:54 pm
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Jack #'s - it's not to late

Jack #'s - it's not to late to switch station platforms and get on the GOP train. HELLO HELLO

Irish
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Irish 01/19/10 - 10:54 pm
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A Republican in Massachusetts

A Republican in Massachusetts ! That's as bad as Yankees in Georgia ......

kiseta50
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kiseta50 01/19/10 - 10:57 pm
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This WIN is for all the guys

This WIN is for all the guys that drive trucks.

Irish
0
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Irish 01/19/10 - 10:58 pm
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Coakley Is on now giving the

Coakley Is on now giving the first of many concession speeches to come from the Dems in 2010

Irish
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Irish 01/19/10 - 11:01 pm
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Looking forward to O"Bamas

Looking forward to O"Bamas concession speech in 2012

BetanInyoe
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BetanInyoe 01/19/10 - 11:05 pm
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Does anybody remember any

Does anybody remember any "right wing conservative wackos" (like me) making a promise not to gloat over Obama's continuing litany of failures? I'd hate to break a promise I can't remember making. "You lost, get over it!!!"

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