Could the GOP Win Kennedy's Senate Seat?

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In Massachusetts, where Democrats almost always win elections, voters could be planning a big upset in the special race to fill Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat.

Kennedy was an icon from the most revered family in the Democratic Party's history. When he died last August, party leaders and nearly everyone else assumed a Democrat would win his Senate seat.

However, just a week before election day, Scott Brown, a Republican, has moved to a dead heat in the latest polls with his Democratic rival Martha Coakley. Brown has moved up by partly claiming the mantle of John F. Kennedy.

"The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen will have immediate benefits to our economy. Every dollar that it released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and new salaries," President Kennedy said in a 1962 speech.

In a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1, a Brown victory would be a political asteroid directly aimed at Democrats in Washington.

Brown vows to be the 41st vote in the Senate against President Barack Obama's health care plan. But the interim Sen. Paul Kirk said absentee ballots could keep the state from seating the winner in time for the Senate health care vote. That suggestion outrages Brown.

"The Democrat machine is surrounding Martha (his opponent), and they are not only trying to manipulate what's happening here, they're also trying to manipulate the health care debate," Brown said.

"The law is the law in terms of what's required by way of certification, sending that certification to the Senate," Coakley said. "I agree with Scott, whoever wins should be sworn in as soon as possible."

While polls show Brown has erased a 30 point lead, by next Tuesday, Massachusetts voters could still return to form and elect another Democrat. In the meantime, they will have the full attention of Democratic leaders on Pennsylvania Avenue.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.