Republican leads race to fill Ted Kennedy's vacated US Senate seat

Friday, January 15, 2010

File photo of Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General.
File photo of Republican candidate Scott P. Brown, Massachusetts State Senator.

A recent poll for the United States Senate Special election in Massachusetts shows the Republican candidate Scott P. Brown leading the Democrat Martha Coakley by 15 points.

The poll, commissioned by the conservative Pajamas Media, and conducted by CrossTarget Research, shows Brown with 54% of possible voters compared to Coakley with 39% for the Senate opening. The results are based on a telephone survey of less than 1,000 voters, 7% undecided, and with a +/-3% margin of error.

The seat was vacated following the August 2009 death of Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, who had held the position since 1962. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick originally filled the vacancy with Paul G. Kirk, a former chairman of the DNC, but he must vacate the seat later this month due to a Massachusetts Law.

The law, which was passed in 2004, specifies that a vacated seat must be filled by a special election. This law was passed in response to the potential vacating of the seat held by Democrat John Kerry following his possible victory in the 2004 presidential election. Under the previous law, then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, would have been allowed to choose a replacement.

Coakley led Brown in the polls for all of 2009. But things changed in January 2010, when Brown began to take a slight lead.

If Brown wins, Democrats will lose the 60 votes necessary for cloture to end potenial Republican Senate filibusters (to delay or prevent voting by extending debate), and to guarantee final passage of the current health care bill.

Massachusetts has not elected a Republican Senator since Edward Brooke in 1972.

The election will occur this coming Tuesday.