In Massachusetts, Anxiety for Favored Democrats

By Abby Goodnough New York Times January 8, 2010

BOSTON — Martha M. Coakley, the Democrat running for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, had seemed so certain of winning the special election on Jan. 19 that she barely campaigned last month.

But the dynamic has changed in recent days. The news that two senior Democratic senators will retire this year in the face of bleak re-election prospects has created anxiety and, even in this bluest of states, a sense that the balance of power has shifted dramatically from just a year ago.

With the holidays over and public attention refocused on the race, Ms. Coakley’s insistence on debating her Republican opponent, Scott P. Brown, only with a third-party candidate present has drawn mounting criticism.

And a new poll that showed a competitive race between Ms. Coakley and Mr. Brown has generated buzz on conservative blogs and energized the Brown campaign — though many news organizations dispute its methodology....”

Meanwhile, PublicPolicyPolling (not a Republican firm) tweeted this evening: "Started our Massachusetts poll tonight...looks like it might be a real race."

We’ll really know it’s a real race when Coakley and her allies try to go negative on Brown. Expect to see that soon.

--William Kristol

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