GOP WINS MA SENATE SEAT; HEALTH CARE REFORM IN TROUBLE

In a political development of historic proportions, Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown to the US Senate seat previously held by Ted Kennedy, his brother (and later President) John Kennedy and Kennedy allies. The race was not all that close in the end. Brown got 52% to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s 47%. Independent Joseph Kennedy (no relation) got 1%.

Republicans say the victory now means President Obama’s Health Care Reform bill is in trouble in the US Senate as Brown has pledged to be the 41st GOP vote, meaning the Democrats cannot end a filibuster (60 votes are needed).

Here in Connecticut, Republicans say the MA results show fundamental voter dissatisfaction with the Democrats and that could mean big things for Republicans in the fall. “[L]et the Democrats from the House delegation from Connecticut take notice. We are coming to take you on every step of the way to protect our country from your confiscation of our freedom,” wrote GOP Party Chairman Chris Healy.

“Despite being written off by the political pundits months ago, Scott [Brown] tirelessly brought his message of lower taxes, less government spending and vigilance against terrorism to the people, and they responded by awarding him one of the biggest upsets in political history,” Rob Simmons said in a statement. Simmons hopes to join Brown in the US Senate. “Voters of all political stripes have rejected their party’s agenda of reckless spending and mounting federal debt, unseemly sweetheart deals for special interests, and weakness in the face of the terrorist threat, all of which has done little to put our nation back to work or keep us safe.”

“Connecticut voters want to support a candidate who is fiscally responsible and pushes for smaller government,” Linda McMahon, also running for the Senate, said in a statement. “They want policy makers in Washington who will side with the people of this state, not the special interests. And they want a Senator who understands that small businesses are key to economic recovery.
“Scott Brown is only the beginning. The people are just warming up.”

In a development that at least two local TV stations saw fit to make “the top story” at 6 pm last evening, UConn announced that 67-year old Coach Jim Calhoun will take a medical leave of absence beginning immediately. Associate head coach George Blaney will coach the Huskies tonight against St. John’s. Calhoun, who visited his doctor early Tuesday, could not be reached for comment. The Hartford Count cited several sources indicating that stress appears to be playing a role in his leave. One source said that Calhoun’s leave is tentatively planned for 10 days.

Calhoun’s issue is not cancer or cardiac-related, a UConn spokesman said. He will not be hospitalized and will spend time at home.

The Courant reported Calhoun is a three-time cancer survivor. He had his prostate removed in 2003 and has twice been treated for squamous cell carcinoma, the last time in the summer of 2008. Last summer, Calhoun fell off his bike during a charity event in Simsbury, broke several ribs and fainted after the race.

“It is my recommendation that Coach Calhoun take a medical leave from his coaching position to address some temporary medical issues, none of which involve any previous medical conditions that he has dealt with, UConn Health Center physician Peter Schulman, Calhoun’s primary care physician, said in a statement.