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Big donors pouring cash into Massachusetts Senate race

By Paul Kane
In a final push to keep their filibuster-proof majority, Senate Democrats turned to Edward M. Kennedy's widow for a fund-raising appeal on behalf of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is struggling to win a special election to succeed the late Democratic senator.

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, in an e-mailed fund-raising pitch, framed the surprisingly close race between Coakley and state Sen. Scott Brown (R) as the defining moment of her husband's legacy, because a Brown victory in the Jan. 19 election would likely derail the massive health-care legislation now in the final stages of negotiations.

"Ted fought for national health-care reform for 40 years. He believed that every American deserved their chance at the American dream, but that as long as an illness or preexisting condition could bankrupt an American family, that great goal could never become a reality. We need Martha Coakley to continue our shared fight. ...This race will be very close and we need you to get us to victory," Kennedy wrote Wednesday.

Sen. Kennedy, whose staff helped write the bill as he battled brain cancer, called national health reform the "cause of my life", and a Brown victory could give Republicans a critical 41st vote, enough to sustain a filibuster.

Coakley and national Democrats have been caught flat footed by Brown's late surge in the race, both politically and financially. As the winner of the Democratic primary on Dec. 8, Coakley was considered the overwhelming favorite because of the state's Democratic tilt. Fund-raising reports showed that Coakley had raised $4.2 million by late November. Brown's campaign, meanwhile, had raised just $467,000 at that point.

Coakley's campaign raised an additional $1 million in the final six weeks of the year. But that's when Brown's campaign began to take off, raising more than $750,000 in that period and an additional $300,000 from large donors in the first 10 days of the new year, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. With conservatives around the country smelling the chance for an upset, Brown raised $1.3 million over the Internet on Monday, his campaign announced. He is now expected to spend more money than Coakley in the final week of the race.

Democrats had so taken the race for granted that Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) did not cut a check to donate to Coakley's campaign until Friday, when his political action committee sent $5,000, just 11 days before the election. Other last-minute donors to Coakley's campaign include the state's governor, Deval Patrick, who gave $2,400 last week from his own personal account. (The governor identified his occupation as "public servant" on forms filed with the Federal Election Commission.)

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), whose own political prospects have grown more dire because of her support of the health-care legislation, gave $5,000 from her PAC last week to Coakley. She's one of 14 Senate Democrats to make donations in the last few weeks. Just three members of the state's House delegation -- Reps. Barney Frank (D), Stephen Lynch (D) and John Olver (D) -- have donated to her campaign since she won the primary.

The appeal from Victoria Kennedy is part of a last-minute effort to sway wavering voters by appealing to the late senator's legacy, something that Coakley had not been tapping into earlier in the campaign. Victoria Kennedy, who did not endorse a candidate in the crowded Democratic primary, publicly endorsed Coakley last week, their first appearance together.

"We have just 6 days to do the hard work of electing Martha Coakley so that we can continue the agenda that Ted made the fight of his life," Vicki Kennedy wrote Wednesday.

Her fund-raising appeal was sent out by other Democrats who have their own fund-raising networks, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who called Brown a "far-right-tea-bagger Republican" in an email to his donors.

"It would be bad enough to lose this seat -- and Democrats' 60th vote in the Senate -- right before the final health care reform vote. But it would be even worse for the decisive 'no' vote to come from Ted Kennedy's old seat," Schumer wrote.

By Paul Kane  |  January 13, 2010; 7:07 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , 50 States , Health Care  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: N.Y. members not flocking to Ford
Next: Obama finally plunges into health-care talks


Jokely needs to go back to what she's good at: ruining the lives of the people of MA by railroading innocent people into prison without a shred of evidence, laughing all the way & sleeping like a baby at night. Better doing that than making everyone's life miserable in the US Senate. The woman is evil.

Posted by: aicohn | January 17, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

And who is putting on the Ritz for Coakley--big Pharma and big Insurance. You know they stand to make billions on the health care legislation. Next to my dislike for big government is big corporations gaining business through legislation and government subsidies. There is nothing in this bill that will make health care more affordable and more efficient. It stinks to high heaven! In fact this whole thing is not even about health care. It's all about killing the middle class. Obama and his ilk dislikes us more than anything else.

Posted by: norwegianbear | January 15, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be nice if the average " JOE" could afford to give $5000 away. And would any of these contributos from outside the state be considered "outside special interest groups?

Posted by: apsass | January 15, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"We have just 6 days to do the hard work of electing Martha Coakley so that we can continue the agenda that Ted made the fight of his life," Vicki Kennedy wrote Wednesday.

If something were the issue of her spous's life, maybe she should have invested more time and effort than in the last six days. No endorsement came from her until the last minute and now all this panic about doing the "hard work."

Posted by: msc62 | January 15, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget voters the money the insurance companies are spending is not coming out of their pockets but out of yours. Read your policies for 2010 and see what all they no longer pay {NOT THAT THEY EVER PAID VERY MUCH} Plus be aware the swift boaters are still shelling out millions of dollars but being quiet since the paid their $350,000.00 fine for illegal actions in the crooked 2004 election.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | January 14, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

There they go BUYING AN ELECTION, GOT TO HAVE THAT SEAT otherwise how will we keep the LIB DEMS campaign of HIGH TAXES, BIG SPENDING going? They are chasing their tales , and many of you will buy into it. Those of you who truly believe that this WASHINGTON FIASCO is in your best interests are so mistaken. HAVEN'T you learned anything in the past year. All the lies, taxes,sponging, bail outs to firms who continue to laugh in our faces and keep on getting their bonus's and the OBAM administration crying how out raged they are while DOING NOTHING... WAKE UP PEOPLE this isn't fantasy island.

Posted by: itscc721 | January 14, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: boski66 | January 14, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: boski66 | January 14, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Progressive Liberals Creating a Diabolical Society:
Also google Boston Children's Hospital Sex Change Clinic
Also You're Teaching my Child What?
Also Dawn Stefanowicz Out from Under
Also Planned Parenthood as this organization goes into the Public Schools and gives young girls low dose birth control pills so they will become pregnant, then they bring them for an abortion, many times without the parents permission

Posted by: boski66 | January 14, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Another election being bought by big-money interests. We need meaningful campaign finance reform so that future elections can not be bought. Senator Kennedy may have fought for health care, but let's stop using his name to advance this cause. He was one willing to see both sides though he held tight to his principles. He's gone now. So let's stop using his name to advance various causes. He did good and he did bad. He was human. Let the best man win in Massachusetts. Let's not buy yet another candidate who will be a hack for one of the political parties.

Posted by: murzek1 | January 14, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I love the smell of panic in the air. The Democrats in Massachusetts are like watching the Keystone Kops. They're in shell shock to find out people are no longer buying their spin.

Hint to them and the Obama gang: Every once in a while, try to make it sound like your concerned about OUR benefit, not just yours and your party's.

Posted by: jeannebee | January 14, 2010 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Thinking Americans want Scott Brown to win. The stench of the lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion, bribery, corruption, and backroom deals to force us to swallow the Obamacare SCAM -- which will destroy our health care, our economy, our freedoms and our country -- has forever tainted the Democratic Party.

Thinking Americans understand there's no longer a Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has been replaced by the Progressive (Marxist) party, controlled by U.S. enemies like George Soros and bent on destroying America using the tactics of their Marxist mentor Saul Alinsky.

Thanking Americans are ready to do whatever it takes to defend their future – and the future of their children and grandchildren -- from Obama and his Marxist scams, like Obamacare and cap and trade.

Go, Scott Brown!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | January 13, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

This is another instance where GOP talking points have been taken for reality by the media. Coakley is up by double digits. Brown will not win.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 13, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

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