It wasn't until mid-December that Scott Brown's campaign team knew for certain they had a chance. An internal poll showed intense interest in the race to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. And the more interested a voter was, the more likely he was to support Scott Brown. The campaign then made the bold decision to cut this ad:

There was worry inside the Brown campaign that the public might react negatively to the outright comparison of Brown to Kennedy. That didn't happen. The ad was electric. It was the first in a series of bold moves and lucky accidents that culminated in Brown's incredible upset victory on January 19.

The ad was the work of the Shawmut Group, a small band of former advisers to Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. While continuing to advise Romney as he lays the foundation for a second presidential campaign, the Shawmut Group's principals have also taken on clients for 2010. Among them is John Loughlin, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard and candidate to fill the Rhode Island House seat vacated by Ted Kennedy's son Patrick.

Loughlin faces an uphill battle in this heavily Democratic state. Charlie Cook says the seat is solid Democratic. The last time these voters elected a Republican to the House was in 1992. The last time the seat was open, in 1994, voters elected Kennedy. You can read Michael Barone on the First Congressional District here.

Of course, the Shawmut Group faced long odds with Brown, as well. And open seats slightly favor the out party, in this case the GOP. And 2010 is going to be a Republican year. Both Kennedy congressmen could be replaced by Republicans. And if that happens, the Shawmut Group becomes the hottest consulting team in Republican politics -- one fired up and ready to fight another primary battle in 2012.

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