After two furious weeks of stumping and trading barbs, the question is this: Will Massachusetts voters share the U.S. Senate candidates’ enthusiasm today at the polls?
Though Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1 in Massachusetts, it is the unenrolled vote that could swing the special election, and polls have indicated Scott Brown holds a strong advantage over Martha Coakley among Independents. As a result, Democrats have feverishly worked to match the enthusiasm of Brown’s base.
Turnout is expected to be larger than anticipated given the attention the candidates have received and the national implications of the result — most notably the fate of health care reform legislation. Cities and towns are also reporting a steep rise in absentee ballot applications, including more than 5,000 in Boston alone.
“I thought this race was going to be a snoozer, and it is not. It really caught fire,” said Geraldine Cuddyer, Boston’s elections chair.
CAMPAIGN TIME LINE
- Jan. 5 Rasmussen poll shows Coakley with only 9-point lead; GOP kicks into gear.
- Jan. 7 Kennedy family endorses Coakley.
- Jan. 8 Brown criticizes Coakley over upcoming Washington fundraiser with lobbyists
- Jan. 11 Candidates spar in final debate.
12 Brown’s “moneybomb” raises $1.3M in 24 hours, reporter falls down
trying to question Coakley in D.C.; Ayla Brown stumps for father
13 Brown camp blames Coakley for negative turn in race. Dems claim
Brown ads illegal because sponsored by group formed by Republican
running for Senate in N.H.
- Jan. 15 Bill Clinton arrives in Boston to stump for Coakley; Rudy Giuliani for Scott Brown.
- Jan. 16 Brown threatens defamation suit over Mass. Dems’ flyer.
- Jan. 17 Obama campaigns for Coakley in Massachusetts; Brown holds “People’s Rally” in Worcester.