Tomorrow, Massachusetts voters will go to the polls for primaries to fill Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat. Bet on whomever can survive on the lowest turnout. No, seriously, having lived in Massachusetts for six bitter winters, I can attest: ain’t nobody gonna be lining up outside in the cold for any of these virtually unheard of candidates.
The choices, in brief:
1) Attorney General Martha Coakley, 56, who leads in polls and has enjoyed the support of Emily’s list and, more recently, former President Bill Clinton (likely still smarting from Teddy’s endorsement of Obama; Coakley, never a Kennedy fave, won herself no friends in that camp by announcing her candidacy less than a week after Kennedy was buried). Possible ramifications: Coakley has said she would vote against any legislation that has Stupak-like abortion language in it. Though this amendment is unlikely to pass the Senate today – Ben Nelson’s got an amendment on the floor – it could be included in the final version of the health care reform bill.
2) Rep. Michael Capuano, 57, who is enjoying a late breaking surge. Capuano, who voted for health care with (or, rather, despite) Stupak-like language in it, was endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – the kiss of death any swing district, Massachusetts is one state where that might actually help.
3) Steve Pagliuca, 54, co-owner of the Boston Celtics. This guy is a big self funder and the dark horse of the race.
4) Alan Khazei, 48, a Harvard-educated social entrepreneur, who won the endorsement of the Boston Globe and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark. Alas for him, Khazei is considered a long shot.
1) The dashing good looker of the race is State Senator Scott Brown, 50, a former model who put himself through law school after he won Cosmo’s “Sexiest Man” title at the age of 22. His wife, Gail, is a tv reporter and one of his two daughters appeared on American Idol. Talk about a telegenic bunch. Unfortunately for Brown, not much else is ever mentioned about him.
2) While the establishment – such as it is for the GOP in solidly blue Massachusetts – is backing Brown, also on the ticket is Jack Robinson, 49, a lawyer who has also self-financed a previous run for Senate and bids for secretary of State and Congress.
The seat is currently being baby-sat by long-time Kennedy friend Paul Kirk, who is not running. The general election is scheduled for January 19 (even colder!). Somehow, without a Kennedy in the race, it just doesn’t seem as fun, though maybe Massachusetts voters will disagree with me (certainly, polls immediately after Kennedy’s death showed large majorities wanted someone else to get a shot after nearly 57 years of Senator Kennedys).