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Mass. Senate race reminds union leader of Dukakis's 1988 campaign

By Alec MacGillis
The surprisingly close race facing Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in her race to replace Sen. Edward Kennedy is carrying unnerving echoes of another Bay State Democrat's failed campaign, the 1988 presidential campaign bid of Michael Dukakis, said Gerald McEntee, the veteran chief of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

McEntee said Thursday he was worried about the prospect that the Democrats could lose their 60th vote in the Senate -- and potentially the whole health-care legislation, given the united objection from Republicans -- if state Sen. Scott Brown upsets Coakley next week. He said his union has mobilized a last-minute effort in Massachusetts, with members flooding in from other New England states.

"I'm very worried. The polls are very very close, and the Republican may even be up a tick or two," he said. "We're nervous. This whole health care thing could blow up if Coakley isn't elected."

Asked why the race appeared so tight in such a strongly blue state, McEntee cited complacent campaigning by Coakley in the weeks since she won the Democratic primary.

"I don't know Mrs. Coakley," he said. "But maybe it's something in the water in Massachusetts. I remember when Dukakis was nominated [in 1988], he was 16 points ahead. He went back to Masschusetts and became governor again. He didn't campaign! ... As I understand it, Mrs. Coakley has followed a bit too much of Mr. Dukakis."

By Alec MacGillis  |  January 14, 2010; 7:29 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Union leaders say they're happy with health-care deal
Next: Race is on to finish reform


MarkHarrisLtd: Tuesday’s election is the main event. It is amazing that on Republican victory on Tuesday could ruin hundreds of hours of work by the United States Congress.

It sure could ... and stop billions in bribes to Senators and unions. A good health care bill should be supported. I can't say this one is good or bad because no one has had a chance to review it ... including all of you who are strongly supporting it. If it is so darn good, let everyone have a chance to evaluate it. The most obvious reason to negotiate in the dark and vote without even Senators & Reps reading it is to get it approved before everyone sees how bad it is.

Posted by: usr105 | January 17, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Coakley will lose on Tuesday, and the foolish Democrats will groan in despair, not knowing what caused the debacle.

They will keep on losing so long as President Obama and the gutless Democrats continue to alienate and marginalize the independent and progressive forces that brought them to power in 2008.

Posted by: famunasmd | January 16, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

A Brown election will ensure the failure of
the massive wasteful, high-tax health bill
which accomplishes NOTHING. Let the good
people of MA send a clear signal to Obama
and his band of thugs we have had enough
of his brand of non-transparent thuggery.
God Save the Republic.

Posted by: ekakuku | January 15, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I hope the President and Congressional leaders take note - even if Coakley manages a narrow victory.

Republicans are pissed off and activated. NOTHING the President or Congressional Democrats have done has motivated their base.

Posted by: DonRitchie | January 15, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The most glaring problem for Democrats during their electoral struggles has been the complete weakness of their candidates. Coakley is another one who cannot seem to go a day without making devastating mistakes in campaigning, messaging, etc.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 15, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Tuesday’s election is the main event. It is amazing that on Republican victory on Tuesday could ruin hundreds of hours of work by the United States Congress. Scott Brown says he will stop the Health Care Reform process as soon as he gets elected. He could win easily because: he acts along the Republican line and has wonderful marketing and internet exposure. He seems to be very popular with angry Americans. He plays poor by driving around in an old truck although he is a millionaire. He has looks. He posed semi nude for Cosmopolitan Magazine back in his college days. He graduated from college with honors but so did his major opposition Darth Vader in a dress: the Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley. Her track record makes his look like he is in the minor leagues although he works in the state legislature. Martha Coakley: was a District Attorney for eight years. Worked in the D.A.’s office before this for around 9 years and worked for the U. S. Justice Department as a Special Attorney for two years where she worked in the Boston Organized Crime Strike Force. She has kicked Mafia butt. Both candidates are potential U. S. Presidents. Now the wild card: To make things worse we have Joe Kennedy, a spoiler from the Tea Party. He is going to steal votes from both candidates. This is the race to watch.

Posted by: MarkHarrisLtd | January 15, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

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