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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If Massachusetts is a Battleground State then Democrats are in Real Trouble in 2010

Without question the most interesting and unexpected political story of 2010 is the suddenly competitive race to fill Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts.  Massachusetts has not elected a Republican senator in 40 years. As recently as one month ago the Democratic nominee, Martha Coakley, enjoyed a 30 point lead over Republican nominee Scott Brown - today two polls show the race to be a dead heat and the National Democratic Party is committing $1 million to the race. Given history and pure electoral advantage Democrats should be walking away with this race, the fact that it is a contest demonstrates just how bad the national electoral picture is for Democrats. It is highly doubtful that Brown will win this race, but if it is even close (within low single digits) then Democrats should panic about their prospects in 2010. If the party cannot rely on an easy victory in true blue Massachusetts then they should prepare to say goodbye to Democratic Senators in IL, NY, PA, NV, DE, AR, and CO - and they would be unlikely to pickup any Republican seats. That would mean the Democrats could see their 60 seat supermajority fall to 53 seats. If Brown actually manages to win in Massachusetts then I would throw the California Senate seat into play as well and could easily see a 51 seat majority for the Democrats - and most analyst agree that 2012 is a worse year for Democrats as they will have far more seats to defend. If Brown wins Massachusetts then I would argue that the Republicans would have a better than even chance of reclaiming the House - a Brown victory would be that seismic.  How worried are the Democrats about losing Massachusetts? So worried that they are actively seeking ways to deny seating Brown, should he win, for as long as possible so that they could pass health reform. So worried that they are rushing ads on to TV that misspell Massachusettes (sic).  So worried that Coakley is spending time in DC raising money from the pharmaceutical industry instead of campaigning. In some respects, the fact that Democrats have had to spend precious resources on this race already makes it a victory for the GOP. It's stunning just how far the Democratic prospects have fallen since January of 2009. Seems that much of the post election talk of an Obama realignment may have been a bit premature.