2010 Archives

Republican victory in Mass. Senate race could jeopardize Obama's agenda


The following excerpt is from a story by The Canadian Press which appear in the January 19, 2010, edition of Yahoo News and in numerous publications in Canada and elsewhere. SMU Policital Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

January 20, 2010

By Lee-Anne Goodman
The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON - A crucial Massachusetts Senate seat held by the storied Kennedy clan for almost 60 years fell to a Republican on Tuesday, a stunning turn of events in a previously liberal state that leaves President Barack Obama's efforts to reform the U.S. health-care system in serious jeopardy.

Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, after striking a chord with independent voters angry about the economy, taxes and government spending.

Coakley had aimed to replace the late Ted Kennedy, who held the seat for almost half a century. JFK had it prior to his kid brother, from 1953 until he won the presidential election in 1960.

The loss strikes a serious blow to Democrats with less than a year before the mid-term elections, in addition to putting the brakes on Obama's legislative agenda. Democrats needed Coakley in the Senate for a 60th vote that would have enabled them to prevent Republicans from blocking legislation.

"It creates panic in the ranks," Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said earlier Tuesday at the prospect of a Democratic loss in such a historically friendly state. "It serves as confirmation that there is a deeper concern about the direction of the Obama administration in the public than had been understood before."

Read the full story.

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