January 13th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
8 years ago

Race for Kennedy's seat may affect health care reform


Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley debate in Boston, Massachusetts, on Monday.

Washington (CNN) - A contentious special election to fill late Sen. Ted Kennedy's Senate seat could have an effect on the cause he championed - health care.

Republican candidate Scott Brown, a state senator, is facing off against Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Election Day is January 19.

Recent polls suggest the race may be closer than expected in its final days, though the Democrat still holds a 15-point advantage in the overwhelmingly Democratic state.

No Republican has won a Senate seat in Massachusetts since 1972.

CNN political analyst David Gergen, who moderated a debate between Brown and Coakley Monday night, said part of the closeness of the race is tied to the health care reform bill in Congress.

"And his campaign has gotten a lot of traction suddenly, unexpectedly in the last few weeks by exactly that campaign pledge: 'I will send this bill back,'" Gergen said.

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Filed under: Health care • Massachusetts • Senate
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. John L. - NYC

    I'm not holding my breath, but that would be some change i could believe in. There are several things in the health care bill that both sides can agree on (such as eliminating pre-existing conditions as a hurdle and revisiting other insurance co. policies in general, being able to buy policies across state lines) but the bill in its current form is way to much too fast will end up being an enormous tax increase on the middle class (you can't honestly believe this will be funded mostly but the "rich" who, btw, aren't so rich anymore) and result in an inefficient and overburdened system (Medicare, Medicaid, Soc. Sec...the Post Office anyone?!), and the public is finally having an "ah ha" moment based on the polled support for this bill. Asking rational questions about the costs is not being "obstructionist" or "republicon tactics". I'm an independent and I resent that remark and the idea that I should just "fall in line." That's not why I live here. The lopsided Dem majority has done nothing but build increased partisan animosity (just look at these posts, the vitriol is unbelievable. i thought liberal-minded folks were a more accepting bunch, seems like many have formed their own "party of no") and serve but a few sections of the American public's interests. Our system works best when there are equal voices from all sides to craft legislation that serves the broadest array of citizens.

    I'm hoping Brown pulls this off. Regardless of the outcome, it should be a BIG red flag for the Democratic leadership. And, really, Coakley completely ignoring the Afghanistan question? Someone who lacks the decency to at least try and explain her stance is not the type of person i would want in a leadership position. "My way at the expense of everyone else" does none of us any good.

    January 13, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. sharon

    of course the GOP would like to mess up a double digit lead....and at the same time mess with the health care reform bill ......that is what they are all about. Especially in Kennedy's state..........

    All Dem......on alert........gop messing again.
    Same ole' same ole'.

    January 13, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Jg

    I watched Shannon O'brien blow her chances to beat Mitt Romney for Govenor in 2002. I see Martha Coakley making the same mistakes in her Senate bid against Scott Brown. I hope she has a 15 point lead because either earlier in the week or last week I had read it was 9 points which is in no way insurmountable nor for that matter is 15. For those out there who feel that this is a lock for Coakley I would remind you that Massachusetts had four Republican Govenor's from 1990-2006. And for everyone who complains that we only elect Kennedy's to Senate seats I would say,Ted Kennedy did a lot for this state and this country easily confirmable via the internet. Was he a saint? No, he had his crimes and his demons but politically he was a force for good. And also part of the reason we kept electing him besides his record is that with the exception of Romney in 1994 no Republican of any consequence had the brass to run against Kennedy, except the lunatic fringe. Which I translate as all your ideals which the rest of us will someday wake up and realize are the one true way aren't worth fighting for if you don't feel like you can win. So if you don't play th egame you can't complain that you lose.

    January 13, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Raj A

    As an independent who voted for Obama, I am disillusioned by recent "change." I hope Brown wins and both my family and I will be voting for the GOP in 2010 and 2012.

    January 13, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Bob in Pa

    Wake Up Massachusetts. Weve already heard the horror stories of forced Insurance and government involvement in your HC System.

    January 13, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. single mom

    Well, the Democrats have changed the rules to suit their own wants, so I don't doubt that if Brown wins, they will do so again.
    If the vote difference is under a thousand, expect claims of voter fraud, demands for recount, and everything else. Similar to Minnesota where you had more votes than registered voters, among other things.

    January 13, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. buckwheat

    Kennedy broke the tobacco industry in NC.This health care bill will break us if someone does not stop this bunch of Liberals and their third world socialism. He sure as hell did not bother the liquor industry. I wonder why?

    January 13, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Coakley is bad, bad, bad. Denies that Al Quada is present in Afghanistan. Refuses to answer (actually, ignores) follow up questions on her statement. Prosecutes innocent day care providers, long after innocence is crystal clear.

    And yesterday, one of her union goons assaulted Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack as he tried to ask her a question while she was leaving a DC fundraiser. Check the video!

    Go Scott!

    January 13, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Tim

    YOu mean the race for the MA seat. Last I checked, Kennedy never owned it, although I know you think he did.

    January 13, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Michele

    And the loony "Obama Fails" Republicans are hanging onto that pledge...to ruin health care for all Americans that has been 200 years too long in coming. Is the bill perfect? No, thanks to Palin's lies and insurance lobbyists getting to their congresspeople to water it down. But we have to start somewhere, and then fix it. Honestly, if this guy defeats health care, insurance companies win big, and the people are the losers.

    January 13, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. J.P.

    A 15-point advantage??? In WHAT poll would that be?
    Certainly none of the polls that have been released today.

    The fact that a republican of any stripe is even within 30 points of the Dem candidate in the People's Republic of Massachusets is astounding. (Hey Martha, that's "MassachusettEs" to you.).

    January 13, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Bubble of Sanity

    A win by the Republican, or even a loss by less than ten points, will be a strong statement of what Americans, even those in Massachusetts, think about this huge, inefficient, socialistic, useless, pork-laden monster that is being force upon us by people who have not lived in the real world in decades.

    If Scott Brown wins, it will not be because he's a Republican; it will be because he resembles a human being.

    January 13, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Bill from Bayshore

    Saw Gergen's attempt at impartially moderating the debate the other night – he should be embarrassed by his performance and he has lost all credibility with me. CNN is beginning to look more and more like MSNBC and will be losing my support unless they wake up and begin to present the facts – just the facts

    January 13, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Bubble of Sanity

    As Scott Brown stated so plainly, CNN, this is not a race for "Kennedy's seat." Ted Kennedy, rest his soul, is dead. That seat belongs to the people of the United States.

    This is not medieval Europe, and we do not grant titles of nobility nor assign territory to lords and ladies.

    The constant use of the term "Kennedy's seat" shows the ignorance of the media. That seat belongs to no one except those who vote next Tuesday.

    January 13, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Debby

    Fifteen points thats it. She is in trouble. I am hoping Brown gets it.

    January 13, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Vietnam Combat Veteran, Ohio

    Hey Brown< UP YOURS, JERK

    January 13, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Silence Dogoode

    She should answer the Afgan question she blew off first, then she can address whether or not she is willing to gut the US Consttution with federal health care like dearly departed, murderer Teddy....

    January 13, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Chuck in CSG

    Go Scott GO!!!

    January 13, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Brian

    Lets see - The GOP gave us deregulation which gave us Bernie Madoff, and others of his kind, and worthless Credit Default Swaps, leading us to the greatest Financial Crises since the Great Depression!!! In addition, Bush gave tax breaks to the upper 3% during wartime– A move so reckless it effectively emptied the Treasury!!! The highest tax bracket during WW11 was 94%– Reagan first, then Bush lowered it to 38%!!! They promised fiscal conservancy but took the Highest surplus in History and gave us the Highest debt in History and Doubled the size and scope of Govt. The difference between the GOP and the Dems is: The Dems spending focus is primarily domestic– The GOP is Wars and Nation Building– I prefer the Blue Poison over the Red Koolaid!!!!

    January 13, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Donkey Party

    What a slap in the face to Kennedy and his lifelong efforts for universal healthcare if MA votes for an Obstructionist.

    January 13, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. John Anthony Castro


    January 13, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. George, CO

    How do I send money to Coakley's campaigne?

    Obama/Biden 2012

    January 13, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. J in NJ

    Only a 15 point lead. How are the Dems not crushing this rethuglican!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Reggie

    Come on Massachusetts vote with your brain not along party lines. Scott Brown will do so much more good for your state and the nation than democratic lapdog, Coakley.

    January 13, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. liberal wingnut

    That is why he is so close in the polls liberal CNN. People do not want this garbage bill.

    January 13, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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