As if the race to fill the US Senate seat occupied by Ted Kennedy for the last 47 years hasn’t been strange enough, it’s now quite possible that the weather in the Boston area may determine the fate of the Health Care Reform bill awaiting action in Washington.
In elections from town crier to president and everything in-between, the weather on election day greatly affects voter turnout. And voter turnout can make the difference one way or the other in close races. Such may be the case in the showdown today between Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) and state Senator Scott Brown. Coakley had as much as a 30-point lead just more than a month ago. Now, polls show the race either a dead heat or Brown with slight lead.
But in every poll, Brown gets almost 70-percent of independents. In Massachusetts, the bluest of blue states, Democrats have a massive political machine, particularly in the Greater Boston area. Therefore, Coakley has the most to gain by having a little sleet or freezing rain fall on the Bay State this afternoon and this evening. Democrats will turn out with postal letter carrier-like dedication. Can the same be said of independents, the group so critical to Brown? Not likely.
Brown has pledged to be the deciding vote on the fate of Barak Obama’s Health Care Reform bill in the Senate. He would vote against it and possibly kill action on the issue for years. Coakley backs the bill and had Obama campaign for her yesterday. Coakley has done a fantastic job of blowing that 30-point lead in just more than a month. Her picture was said to be ready for a milk carton with the caption, “Have You Seen This Candidate”?
Mass Dems are panicking. The author of The Shad’s parents have gotten robo-calls from Obama and Bill Clinton; and live-person calls from a union representative and (for my mom) women’s groups. That wouldn’t be all that extreme except that they live in the beautiful, scenic Berkshires—as far from Boston as you can get and still be in MA. Bucolic Berkshire County towns are thinking about getting the Internet (just kidding; they got access just after getting cable last week).
Emily’s List, the group backing progressive women’s groups, has bought last minute radio time on Connecticut stations that have signals that reach into the Bay State.
Game on. Oh, and the forecast for the rest of the afternoon and evening in the Greater Boston area is snow showers and temps in the 20s. When the weather forecast is the most reliable thing in Massachusetts politics, you know things have gotten weird.