“I just watched John King’s report, that’s the first time I saw Brown headquarters. Wow! It looks like a party there.”
– CNN’s Jessica Yellin (reported by Jonah Goldberg)
Scott Brown wins! Time to do a shameless happy dance!
By a decisive margin, Mr. Brown defeated Martha Coakley, the state’s Democratic attorney general, who had been considered a prohibitive favorite to win just over a month ago after she easily won the Democratic primary. With 84 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Brown had 52 percent of the vote to Ms. Coakley’s 47 percent.
An aide to Mr. Brown said at 9:20 p.m. that Ms. Coakley had called Mr. Brown to concede the race; an aide to Ms. Coakley confirmed that she had conceded.
The election left Democrats in Congress scrambling to salvage a bill overhauling the nation’s health care system, which the late Mr. Kennedy had called “the cause of my life.” Mr. Brown has vowed to oppose the bill, and once he takes office the Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Beyond the bill, the vote also represented an unexpected reproach by many voters of President Obama’s first year in office, and struck fear into the hearts of Democratic lawmakers, who are already worried about their prospects later this year in the mid-term elections.
Who knows what lurks in the hearts of Democratic lawmakers? The New York Times knows. (Okay, that’ll be funny to a certain generation.)
Shannen Coffin at National Review Online asks the Democrats if it was worth it:
Massachusetts Democrats changed the rules of the game after Ted Kennedy’s death, granting to Democratic Governor Deval Patrick the power to appoint an interim Senator pending today’s special election — a power that it had expressly denied to Republican Governor Mit Romney in the 2004 election cycle. The reason was to maintain the 60th vote on the President’s health care legislation and cement Ted Kennedy’s “legacy.” The plan didn’t work on that front, since Democrats couldn’t come to an agreement on the specifics of the bill in the time allotted. And the political maneuvering in the State legislature had enormous political ramifications, feeding a sense of foul play by the Democratic establishment. As much as anything, this unfair play helped propel Scott Brown to a competitive position — and he and Martha Coakley have done the rest. We’ll find out tonight whether Brown will succeed, but you have to wonder whether some state Democrats are second-guessing their decision to change the rules of the game after Kennedy’s death.
Update! That didn’t take long. Senator Jim Webb (Dem) from Virginia just said that all health care votes should stop until Brown is seated.
“In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.”