Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Yesterday morning I went to vote at the quaint New England house that serves as my voting place. It was snowing out on and off all day, but turnout was high.
A number of people commented over the last several days about seeing signs for Scott Brown around Northampton. Normally it is rare for signs to be seen for Republican candidates in Hamp, if you can even find somewhere to get them. This Brown supporter painted their own.
Yet despite the unexpectedly high enthusiasm among Hamp's Brown supporters, it didn't translate into many actual votes for their candidate. Martha Coakley carried Northampton with just shy of 80% of the vote. Yet even that total was topped in Amherst where 84% went for Coakley, tying the results out of Cambridge.
Overall the entire Pioneer Valley supported Coakley, but Republicans did manage to show growth in a few parts of the Valley. Longmeadow, which has been trending Democrat in recent years, solidly returned to the Republican fold yesterday, and the same can be said for Wilbraham, as well as a surprising win for the GOP in generally Democratic Ludlow.
Democrats appear generally nervous about what happened at the polls, and with good reason. The results are a warning as loud as a thunderclap - NO SEAT IS SAFE! Without a doubt other candidates will now be looking to use Brown's victory as a model to making further Republican inroads in Massachusetts. Tom Wesley, one of two challengers (so far) to Congressman Richard Neal, released a statement today that sounded like it was very much modeled on the Brown playbook:
We knew when we launched our campaign against Richard Neal that it would be a tough fight, but we also knew that the people were ready. Scott Brown’s victory now proves this.
Richard Neal continues to be part of the problem. He has been left unopposed and unaccountable for too long. He has taken his position for granted. He no longer represents the people that originally elected him. I plan to give the people of the Second Congressional District an option in November of which they can be proud as I seek to serve as their congressman in Washington.
However, Neal himself appears unfazed by the Brown victory, in fact he urged a continued commitment to a leftist agenda, at least according to this quote in Politico.
The alarm clock has gone off," said Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Ways & Means Committee, who called for a sharper and more confident leftward tack. "We fell into the trap of post-partisanship," he said. "I'm all in favor of being post-partisan as long as the other party is post-partisan."
Maybe Neal said that after seeing the Northampton results, which is where one of his opponents, Dr. Jay Fleitman lives. Neal may feel he needs to shore up his liberal creds in order to help prevent Hamp voters from bolting to the hometown favorite should Dr. Fleitman win the nomination.
I think one of the things that has made the Democrats loss so stinging is that their defeat was at the hands of an opponent they had once laughed at. But it was not just Democrats who were underestimating Brown. Back in early December I described Scott Brown as "a political unknown with no money who probably has no chance of winning."
I am now happy to eat those words. Congratulations Senator Brown, you really did the impossible. What a ride!
Here's a good post-election song.