Trouble for Democrats seems to be brewing in Massachusetts where a special election to fill Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat is due to be held a week from Tuesday — on January 19. It’s hard to imagine a Republican winning in solidly blue Massachusetts but GOP State Senator Scott Brown has been steadily gaining on the Democratic candidate, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, and in a Public Policy Poll out today overtook her 48%-47%.
Dems face a number of challenges: Republicans by a margin of 66% to 48% are much more enthusiastic about turning out. Brown has “eye popping” numbers with Independent voters, leading Coakley 63%-31%. And on health care, which has been center stage in the race, 47% of voters oppose the bill(s) currently before Congress with 41% supporting reform.
If Brown wins, Democrats can pretty much kiss health care reform goodbye, or must go begging to see what the ladies from Maine might want. The Senate isn’t even scheduled to come back into session until January 20th and passing a conference report between now and then is pretty much impossible. Aside from the momentum-killing loss of the 60th vote — the filibuster-proof margin, a Brown win, or even an extremely close Coakley win, will scare the bejesus out of every Democratic incumbent. If Teddy’s seat isn’t safe, no seat is.