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."
January 14, 2010; 7:29 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing
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