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The Latest on Brown v. Coakley

There's something going on in Massachusetts.

11:31 AM, Jan 7, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The only way for Republican Scott Brown to win is energizing the Republican base while appealing to moderate Massachusetts voters at the same time. So far so good, writes Michael Graham, who sees Scott Brown harnessing the power of, and giving hope to, the tea party movement, despite his relatively moderate positions:

To borrow a phrase from President Obama, a Scott Brown victory would be “unprecedented.” Actually, given the numbers in Massachusetts, it may be impossible. But Brown is wisely turning the race into a referendum on current events in Washington, openly declaring himself the “41st vote against the health-care bill.” This allows Brown, a relative moderate himself, to tap into the energy of the tea-party movement, and it also gives his supporters an even higher motivation to turn out.

It doesn’t hurt that Democrats like Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan are already dropping out of races across the U.S. If Democrats are running scared today, what happens if Scott Brown comes within a few points of beating an establishment Democrat like Coakley in a deep-blue state like Massachusetts?

Win or lose, the Brown campaign today could be the vital first step toward a sweeping GOP victory in November.

Brown continues to make a pitch for independent voters with another regular-guy video (see his pick-up truck ad here). Via Jules Crittenden, Boston Herald columnist Margery Egan sees Brown tacking to the left on social issues, but he's made it perfectly clear on his website all along that he doesn't want to make abortion illegal, though he does oppose federal funding of abortion and supports parental consent laws.

Meanwhile, the editors of National Review give their full backing, including an exceptional fundraising pitch, to The Man Who Can Stop Obamacare:

Yet it’s still possible Brown could pull off a stunning upset. Since Reid managed to get the health bill through the Senate, we’ve heard the plaint of so many conservatives, “Is this really happening? Is there any way we can still stop it?” Anyone who has asked those questions in recent weeks should go to Scott Brown’s website and contribute, eroding at least one of Coakley’s key advantages. We don’t ordinarily make fundraising pitches for candidates, but these are special circumstances. The way the health-care debate is projecting right now, the Democrats will get their bill and Republicans will exact their retribution in the fall. It’d be even better if retribution arrived early this year.

And Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory roasts Democrat Martha Coakley for ducking debates:

If you're a registered voter in Massachusetts, your friendly Democratic Senate candidate, Martha Coakley, is sticking her thumb in your eye.

Coakley, in exquisitely diva-like form, is refusing all invitations to debate her Republican opponent in the race, Scott Brown, unless a third-party candidate with no apparent credentials is included on the stage. She may also require a crystal bowl of orange-only M&Ms in her dressing room, but we haven't gotten that far yet. Her demands have led to an astonishing result: there will be just one -- that's one -- live televised debate in the Boston media market this general election season.

Think about that for a moment. We tend to elect our members of Congress for life in this state, especially when they're Democrats, which they usually are. This particular race, a special election, has unfolded at breakneck speed. We have two barely known candidates -- Coakley has run statewide just once, Brown is a state senator from exurbia -- trying to fill a huge void at a time of war and economic upheaval.

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