(CNN) - Republicans may be on the verge of pulling off what was, until now, politically unthinkable: a GOP win in the race to fill longtime liberal lion Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat.
Tuesday's special election is now deadlocked, according to a new poll.
President Barack Obama will campaign in Massachusetts Sunday to try to help save the seat for the Democrats, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
A GOP victory in the overwhelmingly Democratic state could give Senate Republicans enough votes to block Obama's health care plan. It could also shatter assumptions about the competitiveness of politics in the progressive northeast.
No Republican has a won a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts since 1972.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/15/art.gi.obama.jpg caption="President Obama to head to Massachusetts."]
(CNN) - President Obama will head to Massachusetts Sunday to campaign on behalf of embattled Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley, a Democratic official and a Democratic congressional source confirm to CNN.
(CNN) - Senate Democrats released an ad Friday morning linking Massachusetts Senate candidate Scott Brown to Wall Street execs and his opposition to President Obama's bank fee plan – though they quickly pulled the spot for an edit after critics pointed out that a visual of the World Trade Center appeared briefly in the background.
"Republican Scott Brown opposes President Obama's plan to reform Wall Street," the narrator said in "Derail," the 30-second ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
"That's right, Scott Brown actually opposes the plan to crack down on the greed and corruption that nearly destroyed our economy. …But if Brown won't protect American consumers from corporate predators, what IS his agenda?"
DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday afternoon that a new version of the ad had already been shipped to stations.
(CNN) - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum confirmed to his supporters Friday what pundits have been speculating for months - the conservative Republican is actively considering a run for president in 2012.
In an e-mail and letter to supporters of his Political Action Committee, America's Foundation, Santorum writes, "After talking it over with my wife Karen and our kids – I am considering putting my name in for the 2012 presidential race."
"I'm convinced that conservatives need a candidate who will not only stand up for our views, but who can articulate a conservative vision for our country's future," Santorum also writes. "And right now, I just don't see anyone stepping up to the plate."
"I have no great burning desire to be president, but I have a burning desire to have a different president of the United States," said Santorum, who lost his re-election bid in 2006 after two terms in the Senate.
Full letter after the jump:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/15/art.gi.gillibrand.jpg caption="Poll: Gillibrand leads Ford Jr. in primary matchup."]
(CNN) - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York holds a double digit lead over a potential Democratic challenger, according to a new poll.
Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee this week announced he's considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York who was was named a year ago to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton, who stepped down from her Senate seat after being confirmed as secretary of state. Gillibrand is running this year to serve the final two years of Clinton's term. Ford, a former five-term congressman who narrowly lost a 2006 bid for the Senate in Tennessee, now lives in New York.
A Marist College poll released Friday indicates that Gillibrand leads Ford 43 to 24 percent in a hypothetical Democratic party primary match up, with 33 percent undecided.
"Gillibrand has an early lead, but she still has a lot of ground to cover," says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of Marist Institute for Public Opinion. "She's below 50 percent against Ford, and a third of Democrats is undecided. Her approval rating among Democrats statewide is only 31 percent."
TOPICS: 2010 midterm elections
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/15/art.browncoakley.gi.jpg caption="Tuesday's special senate election in Massachusetts between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown is deadlocked, according to a new poll."](CNN) - Tuesday's special senate election in Massachusetts between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown is deadlocked, according to a new poll.
The race is a battle to fill out the final three years of the term of the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, but also at stake is the Democrat's supermajority in the Senate, and possibly the fate of the party's and President Barack Obama's drive for health care reform.
A Suffolk University/7 News poll released Thursday night indicates that 50 percent of likely votes back Brown, a state senator, with 46 percent supporting Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general. Brown's 4 point lead is within the survey's sampling error. Three percent of people questioned back Joseph Kennedy, a third party candidate who is not related to the late senator.
"It's a massive change in the political landscape," says David Paleologos, director of Suffolk's Political Research Center.
(CNN) - The widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy makes a pitch for Democratic candidate Martha Coakley in a new television campaign commercial that started airing Friday in Massachusetts.
Coakley, the state's attorney general, faces off against Republican state Sen. Scott Brown in a special election Tuesday. The race is a battle to fill out the final three years of the term of the late senator, but also at stake is the Democrat's supermajority in the Senate, and possibly the fate of the party's and President Barack Obama's drive for health care reform.
"Tuesday's election is to fill the term my husband didn't have a chance to complete. But it's not the Kennedy seat. It's the people's seat – the mother struggling to make ends meet, the father trying to find a job. My husband fought for them, and so does Martha Coakley.
"Cracking down on Wall Street and insurance company abuses. Fighting for working families. That's what Martha Coakley stands for, and I'm proud to stand with her," says Vicki Kennedy in the commercial.
The reference to "the people's seat" appears to be a push back to Brown, who said in a debate Monday that Democrats were wrong to consider the senate seat Ted Kennedy's.
Both campaigns, as well as national party organizations and independent groups, have flooded the airwaves with campaign ads.
A new poll released Thursday night suggests the race is deadlocked between Coakley and Brown. Joseph Kennedy, a third party candidate who is not related to the late senator, is also in the race.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
(CNN) - Despite speculation from some political observers that Sarah Palin has ruled out a 2012 presidential bid in favor of a television career at Fox news, the former Alaska governor said all options still remain on the table.
Appearing Thursday night on Fox News - where Palin is now a formal contributor - Palin dismissed predictions her television deal means she has closed the door to a presidential bid:
"You know, I'm not going to close any doors for my future, for my family's future - don't know what's in the future, what it holds, but between now and whenever a big decision has to be made, I'm gonna do all that I can to help our country get back on the right track, and that's to get a message out there about solutions that I believe and a whole lot of Americans believe need to be plugged in," said the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/14/art.shadegg.gi.jpg caption="Arizona Republican Rep. John Shadegg announces retirement from Congress."]
Washington (CNN) - Arizona Republican Rep. John Shadegg is retiring from Congress, a GOP source confirmed to CNN Thursday.
The story was first reported by The Rothenberg Political Report.
Shadegg, who was first elected in the 1994 GOP landslide, is the third Republican to announce retirement plans, following Rep. George Radanovich of California and South Carolina Rep. Henry Brown.
It's not the first time Shadegg has decided to call it quits: He announced he would not run for re-election in Feb. 2008, but was encouraged to run again by his colleagues.
Shadegg's district is reliably conservative. In 2008, John McCain won the district over Barack Obama by a 56-42 margin.
UPDATE: In a statement, Shadegg called his decision "particularly hard" but said "it is time for me to take my life in a new direction and to pursue my commitment to fight for freedom in a different venue."