Obama Appears in Ad for Coakley as Mass. Senate Race Draws to a Close

BY Quinn Bowman  January 18, 2010 at 2:46 PM EDT


President Obama has taken to the stump to help save state Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Massachusetts Senate campaign, which could have a significant impact on his signature domestic issue – health care reform legislation.

President Obama rallied Coakley supporters in Boston Sunday and the Associated Press is reporting that he also appears in a new television advertisement for Coakley, a Democrat, who is facing a serious challenge from Republican state Sen. Scott Brown, to fill the seat left vacant after the death of longtime senator and Democratic stalwart Edward Kennedy.

Brown held a rally of his own yesterday in Worcester, Mass.

“I stand before you as the proud candidate of Democrats, Republicans, and independents across Massachusetts, north and south, east and west,” Brown said at the rally. “I will serve no faction but Massachusetts. I will pursue no agenda but what is right. I will be nobody’s senator but yours.”

The Rundown spoke with WBUR’s Fred Thys, a political reporter following the campaign in the state. He said that in the time he has spent on the trail with Brown, his star has risen among people on the street in the last month. WBUR is Boston’s National Public Radio affiliate.

Outside a Boston Bruins game this afternoon, Thys said that Brown was surrounded by supporters as he engaged in his typical voter meet and greet tactic.

“Last month people just walked by him, but now he was just mobbed,” Thys said. “He’s generating a lot of enthusiasm.”

Final polls in the race create a complicated picture, as explained by this analysis by Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com, who offers a competing view to Charles Franklin’s at Pollster.com.

The bottom line is that in one of the most liberal states in America, the Republican candidate has seen his fortunes improve dramatically during the past two weeks and stands a chance at winning tomorrow.

Two of the country’s top political analysts, Stu Rothenberg and Charlie Cook, have moved the race much more toward Brown’s corner. Rothenberg today labeled the race as leaning toward Brown, while Cook called the race a tossup.

“Given the vagaries of voter turnout, particularly in lower participation level special elections, this race could still go either way, but we put a finger on the scale for Brown,” Cook wrote.

The importance of the special election is “hard to overestimate,” Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza told the Rundown last week. A win by Brown would leave the Democrats with only 59 seats in the U.S. Senate, which could potentially doom the pending health insurance reform legislation.

WBUR has been covering the race closely. You can listen to Fred Thys’ latest report here.