Tough contest for Ted Kennedy's 'safe' Democrat seat in Massachusetts

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London, Jan 14 (ANI): A special election to fill Ted Kennedy's vacant Senate seat for Massachusetts has suddenly become a close contest, and opinion polls, give an outside chance to the Republican candidate.

Massachusetts, which the Democrats have won by an average margin of 33 per cent since 1972, has suddenly become a tough call with less than a week for the election.

Even a narrow loss for the Republicans, in what should be one of the safest Senate seats in the country, would be seen as disastrous for the Democrats, The Times reports.

Lt. Colonel (retired) Scott Brown, who is the Republican contender, has staged a spectacular late rally on his pledge to "send Health Bill back" to the Democrats who drafted it if he wins the election.

He still faces long odds. The polls showing him in a virtual dead heat with his rival, Martha Coakley, the state Attorney-General, were automated and less reliable than a Boston Globe survey conducted last weekend that gave her a 15-point lead.

Even so, strategists within the Democratic high command in Washington are so alarmed by the closeness of the race that they have pumped 500,000 dollars into a torrent of negative TV advertisement targeting Brown's voting record on abortion and have sent two veteran campaign managers to Boston to breathe life into Coakley's lacklustre campaign.

They have also persuaded Obama and Senator John Kerry, the most senior Massachusetts Democrat in Congress, to send fundraising e-mails to every registered Democrat in the state.

In private Ms Coakley has admitted finding Brown's poll surge "frightening". In public she has told supporters: "We do have a race. If we do not understand that we have a race, then we will not win it." (ANI)

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