Martha Coakley’s plan to coast into the general election without a campaign (or issues!) has effectively been thwarted by a surprisingly feisty, scrappy Scott Brown. While clueless Beltway GOP officials, pundits and other insiders continue to write off or ignore the race, it is clearly heating up here at home.
One hundred percent of that is due to Brown’s spirited campaign. After giving indications that he would go easy on Coakley in order to prevent a “Rick Lazio” effect (a false notion in politics that Lazio lost the US Senate race to Hillary Clinton because he attacked her, when in fact it was due to his late entry into the race after Rudy Giuliani dropped out), the opposite has been the case.
Instead, he’s been blasting the lackluster AG, accusing her of being “on vacation” during the campaign, of being “robotic”, and of “picking out the drapes”, a reference to her own perception that election day has already occurred.
Finally, Coakley’s undermined her own prospects via a refusal to debate Brown one-on-one, instead insisting that a little-known unenrolled candidate (coincidentally named “Joe Kennedy”) be present in every debate. That includes the upcoming WTKK debate referenced below this post. Forcing Kennedy onto the stage at every event is a crutch Coakley uses to disguise her cowardice.
Brown is using his extreme underdog status to make lemonade out of lemons- because conventional wisdom says he doesn’t have a prayer, he has little to lose by taking increasingly bigger risks on the campaign trail. Slamming Coakley is especially easy when she provides voters with absolutely no reason to support her.
All of this is beginning to pay off in the form of YouTube views (over 16,000 for his new clip in less than 48 hours) as well as Facebook and Twitter activity. A new Internet fundraising campaign has brought $700,000 in desperately needed cash that hopefully will be used to purchase television spots. Another advantage: Brown saved his money during the primary while Coakley was forced to use most of what she had to fend off three challengers.
But at the end of the day, none of this changes the fact that Brown remains the underdog. That $700k needs to be quadrupled almost overnight if he truly has a shot at getting his message across the Commonwealth. During the same reporting period, Coakley has raised $1m, which she would certainly prefer to save to create a post-election war chest (especially to dole out to fellow Dems for November 2010). But it could be unleashed overnight if she were to suddenly feel threatened.
If Brown really has a chance, here’s what must occur between now and January 19:
1- The “money bomb” technique must be repeated successfully by Tuesday, January 5 (two weeks before election day)
2- Brown must create and air additional television spots. YouTube alone isn’t going to pull it off.
3- He must continue to slam Coakley at every opportunity and generate headlines every day between now and January 19. So far, so good.
4- Democrats have got to continue to remain as disaffected (or more so) than they feel today, leading to less momentum for Coakley.
5- Turnout must be low on election day.
6- Brown’s share of unenrolled voter support must be unusually high.
Upcoming WTKK debate press release:
Coakley, Brown and Kennedy to Debate Live on 96.9 FM
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
9 to 10 a.m.
Jim Braude and Margery Eagan to Host Massachusetts US Senate Candidates from the
96.9 FM Studios at 55 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA (December 30, 2009): 96.9 FM-WTKK’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan will host the first radio debate between the three candidates in the race for Senator on Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 from 9:00am – 10:00am. Attorney General Martha Coakley, State Senator Scott Brown, and Independent Candidate Joseph L. Kennedy are vying for the late Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat in the special election on January 19th, 2009.
In addition to questions from Jim and Margery, the debate will feature listener questions and closing statements from the candidates. Questions must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 p.m. Monday, January 4th.