Kevin Conroy, Martha Coakley's campaign manager, just sent out this e-mail in the heat of election day:
We've received several independent and disturbing reports of voters across the state being handed ballots that are already marked in favor of Scott Brown. This is obviously a serious violation, and our legal team is taking immediate steps to protect the integrity of this election.
We do not yet know why this is happening, but you and everyone you know needs to be aware of the situation so that you can carefully inspect your ballot. If a vote has already been marked, you must return the ballot to the elections official, demand a clean ballot, and call our Voter Protection Hotline at 617-351-6866.
If true, this is a very disturbing development, as well as a surprising one given that most local officials (though not necessarily polling place volunteers) in Massachusetts are Democrats. More importantly, this e-mail strikes me as Coakley's way of saying, "If I lose, I'll sue." Such a lawsuit would mean that even if Scott Brown wins, he won't win tonight. It would drag out Paul Kirk's tenure in the U.S. Senate (just as Norm Coleman's Minnesota lawsuits dragged out his seat's vacancy), bolstering chances for passage of health care reform but giving Massachusetts voters a massive headache and potentially embarassing the Democratic Party.
For the sake of democracy, one hopes no voter fraud is occuring; this is certainly something to keep an eye on.
Results are soon pending in the special election to replace Senator Ted Kennedy. Once a guaranteed Democratic victory, the race has become surprisingly competitive due to a bad national environment and a lackluster campaign run by Democrat Martha Coakley. In fact, several polls have put Republican Scott Brown in the lead, striking panic amongst the Democratic establishment.
Interpreting incomplete results can be difficult if one is not familiar with how different areas in a state vote. Senator John McCain, for instance, led the vote in Virginia during much of election night; this was because deep-red rural Virginia reported first. After Democratic strongholds in Northern Virginia began posting, Barack Obama quickly pulled away (he ultimately won by 6.30%). Because Massachusetts is rarely competitive outside of gubernatorial elections, geographic unfamiliarity probably extends to even most politically active folk.
I have therefore created a map indicating what a tied election would probably look like: More below.
Not sure how well this jibes with a populist, anti-establishment posture.
Democrats believe President Barack Obama’s proposed, $90 billion tax on big banks will box in Republicans, giving them the choice between siding with the bankers or breaking with the GOP’s antitax base.
If so, Republican Massachusetts Senate candidate Scott Brown has taken the bait. His Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley, embraced the bank tax and spent the day goading Brown to take a stand.
Responding to The Wall Street Journal, the Brown campaign said this evening, “Scott Brown is opposed to higher taxes, especially in the midst of a severe recession. Raising taxes will kill jobs. Martha Coakley’s tax-raising policies will make it harder to get our economy back on the right track.”
This race remains close, with neither candidate consistently polling above 50 percent, though how some could call a race with one candidate consistently polling ahead of the other a tossup is mystifying to some. But in a tight race, particularly at a time of populist fervor, it's not entirely clear that it's good politics for a candidate to line up with the banking industry -- particularly a candidate trying to score an upset on the backs of populist voters.
Non-partisan pollster Research 2000 is out with a new survey of the Massachusetts special Senate election (sponsored, however, by a Democratic blog, the Blue Mass Group), and the numbers while not great for Democrat Martha Coakley aren't half bad either:
QUESTION: If the 2010 special election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you vote for Martha Coakley, the Democrat, Scott Brown, the Republican, or Joseph Kennedy, the Libertarian candidate?
When you put these numbers in the mix along with all of the other polling from Massachusetts conducted in the past two weeks, Coakley leads Republican Scott Brown by an average 49.6 percent to 42.6 margin -- a 7-point lead. The Pollster.com trend estimate doesn't look too different, giving Coakley a 48.9 percent to 42.5 percent lead -- 6.4 percentage points.
There is a great deal of variance in the numbers, mostly owing to different surveys showing Brown earning different levels of support. What is more constant, however, is the finding that Coakley's support is hovering at, or just below 50 percent.
There still remain a few days before the election, and both campaigns are relatively flush with cash (the past 24 hours have brought in well over $1 million to the Coakley campaign, at least matching Brown's similar haul). Here's to an interesting Tuesday night, with close coverage of the numbers here at MyDD.