Massachusetts Senate race: Republican Scott Brown wins seat in epic upset
Democrat Martha Coakley's defeat for the seat that Ted Kennedy held for 46 years could signal big problems for President Obama and his party.
(Page 2 of 2)
Wall Street watched the election closely. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 116 points, and analysts attributed the increase to hopes the election would make it harder for Obama to make his changes to health care. That eased investor concerns that profits at companies such as insurers and drug makers would suffer.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Across Massachusetts, voters who had been bombarded with phone calls and dizzied with nonstop campaign commercials for Coakley and Brown gave a fitting turnout despite intermittent snow and rain statewide.
Secretary of State William Galvin, who discounted sporadic reports of voter irregularities throughout the day, predicted turnout ranging from 1.6 million to 2.2 million, 40 percent to 55 percent of registered voters. The Dec. 8 primary had a scant turnout of about 20 percent.
Voters considered national issues including health care and the federal budget deficits.
"We don't want health care just for the rich and the middle class. We need it for everyone," said Democrat Neicei Degen, 82, who voted for Coakley in hopes of saving Obama's plan that would extend coverage to millions of uninsured.
Fears about spending drove Karla Bunch, 49, to vote for Brown. "It's time for the country, for the taxpayers, to take back their money," she said.
For others, feelings about the candidates themselves shaped their votes.
Recalling that Brown once posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine, Kaitlin Addams, 50, said she reluctantly voted for Coakley "to make sure the pinup boy doesn't get into office. I don't like his stand on issues. He's an extreme conservative."
Conversely, Elizabeth Reddin, 65, voted for Brown because she said she was turned off by the Democrat's negative advertisements, saying: "The Coakley stuff was disgusting."
As polls opened, Brown drove up to his polling place in Wrentham in the green pickup truck that came to symbolize his upstart, workmanlike campaign that in the past week pulled him into a surprise dead heat in polls.
"It would make everybody the 41st senator, and it would bring fairness and discussion back to the equation," the state senator said of a potential victory. He spent the rest of the day out of public view, crafting evening rally remarks that had the potential to be an early State of the Union speech for the national Republican Party.
Coakley, stunned to see a double-digit lead evaporate in recent weeks, counted on labor unions and reawakened Democrats to turn out on her behalf and preserve a seat Kennedy and his brother, President John F. Kennedy, held for over 50 years. The senator died in August of brain cancer.
"We're paying attention to the ground game," Coakley, the state's attorney general, said casting her vote in suburban Medford. "Every game has its own dynamics."