Boston (CNN) – The stakes are high for Democrats in Massachusetts, CNN Chief National Correspondent John King reports.
"This was Teddy Kennedy's seat for more than 46 years," King said Tuesday shortly after polls closed.
Kennedy was "perhaps the best known liberal in the United States. Just 14 months ago, President Obama carried this state by more than 25 points over John McCain. And yet the people of Massachusetts could send a message tonight by sending a Republican to Washington to replace Ted Kennedy."
Republican Scott Brown has campaigned on the theme of being the 41st vote Senate Republicans need to scuttle Democratic plans to pass health care reform legislation.
"It has been more than 30 years since there has been a Republican United States senator from the state of Massachusetts," King said. Republicans "believe that in just a few hours they may have a victorious candidate who will reshape politics not only in this state's politics but the dynamics in Congress and, without a doubt, the dynamic in this early month – the first month of the midterm election year."
Boston (CNN) - Mitt Romney, the last Republican governor elected in the Bay State, worked the crowd at Scott Brown's headquarters Tuesday evening as polls closed, CNN's John King and Rachel Streitfeld report.
The crowd was shouting "Mitt, Mitt," to the 2008 Republican presidential nominee as he shook hands with audience members.
Boston (CNN) - Scott Brown says if he wins the special senate election to fill the last three years of the term of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, it will mean the voters are represented by a "regular guy."
Brown, a Republican state senator who's battling Democratic state attorney general Martha Coakley, made his comments after he voted Tuesday morning at a polling station in Wrentham, Massachusetts, near his home.
Asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King what message a Brown victory would send to President Barack Obama, the state senator said he'll show the president "my truck and play some basketball with him."
The truck is a green Dodge pickup truck, which Brown drove to the polling station. Brown has driven the truck across Massachusetts as he's campaigned for the senate seat, and the vehicle's appeared in his campaign commercials.
At a Coakley campaign rally Sunday, Obama appeared to make fun of the truck, saying "forget the truck. Everybody can buy a truck."
Boston (CNN) - Voters at three different places received ballots already marked for Republican candidate Scott Brown in Tuesday's special U.S. Senate election, according to campaign officials for Democratic candidate Martha Coakley.
At a news conference less than three hours before polls closed, Coakley campaign attorney Marc Elias said the campaign notified the Massachusetts secretary of state of what he called spoiled ballots that should not be counted.
Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the Massachusetts secretary of state's office, said it received two reports of voters saying they received pre-marked ballots.
The voters received new ballots to cast, and the ballots in question were invalidated, McNiff said.
Kevin Conroy, the Coakley campaign manager, said the "disturbing incidents" raised questions about the integrity of the election. In response, the Brown campaign issued a statement criticizing Coakley's team.
"Reports that the Coakley campaign is making reckless accusations regarding the integrity of today's election is a reminder that they are a desperate campaign," Daniel B. Winslow, the counsel for the Brown campaign, said in the statement.
"The United States Senate is the judge of the qualifications of its own members," Galvin told CNN's Rick Sanchez. "In other words, they get to decide who is seated and when. "
Sen. Paul Kirk, who was appointed by the state's governor to be the interim replacement for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, will serve until the Senate decides to swear in either Martha Coakley, a Democrat, or Scott Brown, a Republican.
"Senator Kirk will serve until his successor has qualified, that means sworn in," Galvin said.
Though the ultimate decision rests with the Senate, Galvin also said Tuesday that if the results of Tuesday's voting are decisive, he will announce those unofficial results as soon as he can.
"A decisive result would be one that would be beyond the margin for a recount, which would be one half of one percent," Gavin said. "I would also want to make sure that it was outside the margin of uncounted absentee ballots."
Washington (CNN) - The polls haven't closed yet in Massachusetts, but the Republican National Committee distributed a memo to committee members and reporters Tuesday boasting about their under-the-radar efforts to help Scott Brown defeat Martha Coakley in the Senate race.
The memo, written by RNC chairman Michael Steele, asserts that the national party "has been working very diligently behind the scenes" in Massachusetts along with the state Republican Party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Steele said that because Democrats wanted "to make an issue of 'national Republicans" interfering in this race ... we have stayed out of the limelight while supporting the Brown campaign and the Massachusetts Republican Party."
But Steele said the RNC has been on the ground for more than two months, having dispatched staffers to Massachusetts immediately after big GOP wins in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections last November, in addition to sending an additional 32 staffers to the Bay State along with busing in 160 volunteers as Election Day approached.
An RNC official would not say how much money the party spent on the race. (UPDATE: Alex Castellanos, a consultant to the RNC, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the national party sent roughly $500,000 into Massachusetts, in line with what the National Republican Senatorial Committee spent on the race.)
Steele said that with the help of "innovative" voter identification technology and get-out-the-vote programs implemented by the RNC, almost two million voters were contacted before Tuesday's vote.
(CNN) - Sarah Palin attracted huge crowds across the country last fall as she promoted her best-selling memoir, but a new survey suggests an overwhelming number of Americans don't want the former Alaska governor to run for president.
According to a new CBS News poll out Tuesday, 71 percent are against the former Republican vice presidential candidate launching her own bid for the White House in two years while 21 percent are in favor of a potential run.
Broken down by party, 56 percent of Republicans are against a potential Palin presidential campaign while 30 percent are for it. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Democrats, 88 percent, are not in favor of a Palin presidential run.
The survey also finds significantly more people view Palin negatively than positively: 41 percent negative compared to 26 percent positive.
Both those numbers have increased since Palin's high-profile book tour late last year and since becoming a Fox News contributor last week. In November, 38 percent held an unfavorable view of Palin while 23 percent held a positive view of her.
Among Republicans in the latest poll, 43 percent hold a positive view of Palin while 30 percent of independents do. Meanwhile, just under a half of conservatives view Palin favorably while only 16 percent of liberals do.
Meanwhile, a majority of conservatives, 58 percent say Palin should run for president in 2012.
Boston (CNN) - The state secretary of state's office tells CNN there continues to be a steady turnout for Tuesday's election.
"Turnout has been pretty good," said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the office.
The noon report from Boston showed 55,309 voting so far - a number that is just 3,000 under the turnout for the 2006 midterm election.
There were predictions of low turnout because of the time of year of the election is being held and the wintry weather.
The secretary of state's office had predicted a turnout in the range of 1.6-2.2 million, and McNiff says the numners today appear to be falling within that estimate.
Washington (CNN) - A top House Democrat said Tuesday that the Senate health care bill is "clearly better than nothing" - an indication the House of Representatives is considering passing the more conservative Senate measure with no alterations.
The House Democratic leadership may resort to that course of action if Massachusetts GOP state Sen. Scott Brown wins Tuesday's race to fill the vacancy created by the death of Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy.
A Brown victory would deprive Democrats of their 60-seat Senate supermajority and give the GOP enough votes to block future Senate votes on health care and other White House priorities. If the House passes the Senate bill as currently written, however, the measure could proceed straight to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters he remains "hopeful" Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic nominee, will defeat Brown. But if she does not, passing the Senate version would be "clearly better than nothing," he said.
Later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added, "Whatever happens in Massachusetts, we will have quality, affordable health care for all Americans, and it will be soon."
Several Democratic congressional sources tell CNN that having the House approve the Senate bill is likely the best of a series of bad options to pass health care in the event of a Brown victory.