From obscurity to prominence to possible victory, Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown’s campaign for Teddy Kennedy’s seat in a special election on Tuesday, January 19, is receiving national attention. From a 30-point underdog, Brown has campaigned for the seat — which he says “With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedys’ seat, it’s not the Democrats’ seat, it’s the people’s seat” — with his pledge: “I will send this [Obama healthcare] bill back.” And in so doing he has closed the gap so that several prominent pollsters are saying the race is too close to call.
The Republican primary in Florida, which pits Governor Charlie Crist against Marco Rubio, is being watched carefully as a harbinger for the impact the Tea Party may have on the midterm elections. Six months ago Crist was leading all challengers, according to Rasmussen Reports, but now Crist is tied with former state House Speaker Marco Rubio.
Even in the Republican Tsunami of 1994, the Grand Old Party did not really come close to taking the U.S. Senate seat ordained in perpetuity for the Kennedy family and its political heirs. But the last prince of Camelot is dead, and while Martha Coakley no doubt knew the late Senator and may even have been a friend of Ted Kennedy, Martha Coakley is no Ted Kennedy.
Congressional battles are about who gets what, it is sometimes said, while presidential elections are about who and what we are as a people. One of the issues to be settled in the House and Senate conference over healthcare insurance reform is who and what U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak is.