Jan. 19 – Electing a new US Senator in Massachusetts
After a surprisingly easy primary, Republicans and Democrats have selected their candidates to replace the late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy in the United States Senate. Democrats chose state Attorney General Martha Coakley while Republicans have rallied around Scott Brown, a State Senator from Wrentham.
Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and raised in North Adams, all the way on the western border of the state, Martha Coakley graduated from Williams College in 1975 and received her law degree from Boston University four years later. After practicing law privately in the Boston area, Coakley became an Assistant District Attorney in Lowell in 1986. Initially focusing her work against organized crime, she later became head of a taskforce combatting child abuse throughout the state.
In 1997, Coakley successfully ran to become Middlesex County’s District Attorney. She remained in the office until 2006 when she was elected Attorney General. She is currently a Medford resident and married to Thomas O’Connor, a retired deputy police superintendent.
One of the very few well-known Republicans in Massachusetts, Scott Brown is known for both his strong right-wing convictions and for becoming popular in the Senate despite his political affiliation. He grew up in Wakefield, graduated from Tufts University in 1981 and received his JD in 1985 from Boston College. A family law attorney, Brown first entered public office as Wrentham’s town assessor in 1992.
Moving his way up the political ladder, he became a Wrentham selectman in 1995 and was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1998. In 2004, Brown won a previously Democratically held seat to become a State Senator.
Brown is also a 29 year member of the Massachusetts National Guard. He is married to Gail Huff, a WCVB-TV reporter and has two daughters.
One independent will appear on the ballot. Joe Kennedy is a Libertarian activist and of no relation to the dynastic Kennedy family.