Dem’s plans at stake with Massachusetts vote

scott brown for president

(CNN) — Massachusetts goes to the polls Tuesday for a special election to fill Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat, which could determine the fate of the national Democratic agenda, including health care plans.

Losing the seat would strip Democrats of their 60-seat majority in the U.S. Senate and give Republicans enough votes to block the comprehensive health care overhaul bill that President Obama is championing.

No Republican has won a U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts since 1972, but pre-election polls are cause for concern for the Democrats.

An American Research Group survey taken Friday through Sunday had Republican state Sen. Scott Brown ahead of Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley by 52 percent to 45 percent. The survey’s sampling error was 4 percentage points.

No poll released in the past few days had Coakley ahead.

A Brown victory would give Senate Republicans the votes to stop the health care bill — and the rest of the president’s agenda — through a filibuster, a tactic they employed when Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 elections.

However, they have been unable to use that tactic after Democrats gained their 60-vote majority in the Senate after the 2008 elections.

Democrats have accused Coakley, who once had a double-digit lead, of running a lackluster campaign.

Obama dashed to Boston on Sunday to rally voters on Coakley’s behalf. Democratic sources said they hoped the trip, coupled with a late push by party activists, could tip the balance.

Early in the race, few observers said they thought Brown had a serious shot at beating Coakley. He was underfunded and unknown statewide.

But Brown has shown surprising strength in the state, long considered a Democratic stronghold. He has hewn to traditional GOP themes, promising to back tax cuts and oppose Obama’s health care overhaul effort.  More…

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