January 19 Preview and Predictions
Everyone is now following the massively important US Senate race in Massachusetts to fill the seat of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Polls show this to be a true toss up. Democrat Martha Coakley has run a lackluster campaign, allowing Republican Scott Brown to, in the eyes of many, move ahead in the race. It also remains to be seen what percentage Libertarian Joe Kennedy wins and whether that hurts either of the major party candidates.
I have followed this race extremely closely – and as it is my home state, I voted in the race. This one is incredibly hard for me to predict – I go back and forth on who I think will win the race. The Democrats have run a terrible campaign and the Republican base is fired up. Yet Massachusetts has a stark left lean and while health care reform may be unpopular elsewhere, this is the state that pioneered universal health coverage. In the end, I think Coakley will squeak this one out. Barely. The higher turnout, the more likely this is to happen. But I will not be too shocked if Brown shocks the nation and becomes the 41st Republican Senator.
This race has fallen off the radar – including my own – because of how exciting the Massachusetts election has become. However, Birmingham is looking to pick a new executive after the corruption conviction of its previous mayor and are hoping for a new start. Patrick Cooper led by a large margin, yet the race has tightened significantly since the initial 13 person race. William Bell is hoping to ride his momentum to victory.
Cooper is fresh certainly, having never held elected office. It may be just what Birmingham needs. Bell is well connected, having served as acting mayor once before and it is clear that he will have a much shorter learning curve and hit the ground running if he wins the race. It remains to be seen which message rings true to voters. It seems to me – given the task to predict this race – that Cooper‘s campaign has resonated more with voters and he will win on Tuesday. But it won’t be by a big margin.