If a 75% district can be won in a special election, albeit against a crooked incumbent, an open seat in a 62% democrat state is winnable in a special election. The special election for the Massachusetts US Senate Seat is January 19th. It'll be cold. Politics won't be on the mind of most people. Nothing else is on the ticket more than likely. Some think there's a puncher's chance.
From Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics.
There's been a fair amount of excitement in the rightosphere regarding the January 19, 2010 special election to fill the seat of Senator Ted Kennedy. The race pits Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley against Republican state Senator Scott Brown. The cases for GOP optimism are pretty well spelled out in Jim Geraghty's piece at National Review.
There's some truth to these arguments, as Massachusetts isn't as monolithically Democratic as most make it out to be; the real power brokers in the state are the Independents, who make up a near-plurality of the electorate. Hence, Republicans have been able to elect a number of GOP Governors over the last few decades (and in a straight-up match up with Deval Patrick, would probably be poised to do it again in 2010). Jim Ogonowski's near-win in MA-05 in 2007, during the depths of anti-GOP sentiment in the country, gives further proof of the state's willingness to embrace the right kind of Republican (ie a non-Southern, non-conservative Republican without ties to the religious right.
In any event, if we take a 38%D, 19%R, 42%I electorate and have Coakley win 90% of the Democrats, 4% of Republicans and 38% of Independents, we come out with an exceedingly close 51.06-48.9% Coakley win. I did not expect that.
Now, for three caveats. Obviously, Independents in Massachusetts are probably more liberal than Independents in New Jersey or, certainly, Virginia, so they might swing less. But that's baked into the pie somewhat by using 2008 as the baseline, where they voted more for Obama than NJ and VA Independents did to begin with. And remember, oddly enough, Independents swung more toward Republicans in New Jersey than they did in Virginia.
And National Review reporting some reader reports at their site.
I wouldn't be shocked if this was closer than the 62-38 races which we've had for the presidency the last three elections. However, I will be shocked if there is an upset. That aside, every race should be contested, and especially in special elections. There is a puncher's chance, and the GOP needs to throw a ton of punches to get back into the game.
Good luck to Brown.