AP is reporting that Scott Brown (R) has defeated Martha Coakley (D) in the special election to fill the US Senate seat left vacant by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. Brown’s unofficial margin of victory–52% to 47%–is more than respectable, and while Coakley had a predictably strong showing in Boston, Cambridge and their upscale neighbors to the west and south, Brown had a broader appeal, winning easily in communities as disparate as tony Andover and working-class Chicopee.
As a citizen of the Commonwealth whose vote in the last presidential election was washed away by the tsunami of change that Obama rode into office, I am delighted that the ornery, contrarian nature of the Massachusetts electorate has sent a wave of another kind, a shock wave, through the corridors of power. Yes, for the last few weeks it’s been clear the tide was turning in Brown’s favor, but to see a Republican elected to something other than the office of governor is as refreshing as it is astonishing.
Even now I imagine the pundits and spinmeisters are opining about the “Massachusetts referendum” on health care, are placing their bets on the upcoming mid-term elections, and are asking what all of this means for the president’s ability to move his agenda. Good for them. But for now I will simply savor the moment: neither the dimming star power of the Kennedys, nor the eleventh-hour invective of President Obama, nor the slimy tactics of the Coakley campaign could overcome the common sense of voters who turned out in droves.
As Mr. Brown heads to Washington, I offer him my best wishes and support. Oh, and one more thing: Blame me! I’m from Massachusetts!