In a state where the majority of voters seem to bleed Democratic blue, Martha Coakley has lost the special senate race to replace the late Ted Kennedy's seat representing Massachusetts. Where just weeks ago Coakely's opponent Scott Brown was just some dude who posed naked in Cosmo a while back and had a laughable chance at winning Kennedy's seat, Brown is now Senator dude who posed naked in Cosmo. How did this happen?
First we have to look at Coakely's campaign, whose strategy appeared to be to let her opponent surge back in the polls and then make a last-ditch effort to win the seat. Coakley kept a very low profile since winning sure-handedly in the Democratic primary, preferring press releases and aides' statements to Brown's numerous press conferences and campaign events. That is not how you win an election. No matter how much you think you lead by, you get out and talk to the voters who decide your fate. While Brown is out there getting media coverage and talking about issues, Coakley stood by and put out press releases. Doesn't she know that no one reads newspapers anymore? Plus, that whole child rapist thing didn't help, either.
To be fair, this outcome is not only the result of Coakley dropping the ball. Brown ran an excellent campaign. To begin with, he knew he was running in a very left-leaning state and consciously did not outright claim to represent the Republican party in speeches and appearances, instead choosing to say that he would represent "Massachusetts interests" and refusing to identify as a moderate or conservative. He also has struck a chord as a man of the people, driving his GMC pickup truck across the state and featuring it in advertisements as bringing him "closer to the people of this state." Brown just played the game when Coakley thought she was above it and then played it well when Coakley decided to finally get down to brass tacks.
When it comes to the issues, Coakley should be streamrolling over Brown and his bailout-rescued pickup. She's pro-choice, pro-equality for gays, anti-gun, anti-Patriot Act, anti-Wall Street. It's like someone said create me someone with the best stances for Massachusetts and was shipped Martha Coakley. Brown is anti-gay marriage, anti-financial regulation, pro-death penalty, anti-public option, and pro-"enhanced interrogation techniques" (read: torture). That's not very appealing to someone looking only at the issues.
If you think this campaign is being sold on the issues, you're mistaken. Brown ran a much better campaign and drives a pickup whereas Coakley remained silent when she should have been out rubbing elbows with those deciding her fate and appears to be out of touch with the voters. If you read this site at all you know who I would have voted for based on the issues, and tonight she is shaking her head wondering where she went wrong. The hard part for Coakley will not be finding out where she went wrong, but where to begin the analysis. Mike Capuano must be pissed.
Photo - Coakley, back when she was Middlesex DA and not botching "gimme" elections (Boston.com)