Saturday, January 9, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

It would appear that the next week and a half leading up the special election to in Massachusetts to fill the remaining years of the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s seat will be one of the last battlefields in the health care debate.

This can be summed up by the following Politico headline:  Can Dems pass health care if Brown wins?

The reason:  the scenario has emerged wherein the seat goes Republican, denying the Democrats 60 votes in the Senate. 

As I noted the other day, I think that outcome is rather unlikely.

One would expect, however, that a lot of attention and resources are going to be poured into the race now that it is perceived as “a losable race for Democrats.”

The most dramatic possibility, it would seem, would be a win for Republican state Senator Scott Brown and then the state dragging out the certification of the race to allow time for a health care vote.  Via the Boston HeraldScott Brown swearing-in would be stalled to pass health-care reform.

I have no idea what the exact law is on such a situation.  The piece suggests that the state has asserted it has to wait for overseas ballots before certification can take place.  Given other recent examples of special elections (like NY23 earlier this year, where the winner was sworn in before the absentee ballots were counted) it would seems that that is not the case (granted, different state), depending on the margin of victory (and whether the opponent concedes or not).  Of course, a close race would be another matter (think, for example, the Minnesota Senate contest of 2024).  It stands to reason that a Republican upset would probably come about in a close race.

At the end of the day, my guess is that there will be increasing sound and fury around this race, but it will like signify not all that much, with Kennedy’s seat remaining in Democratic hands.

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4 Responses to “The Drama of the Mass. Special Election”

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    1. Alex Knapp Says:

      Actually, I think that the sound and fury will help motivate Democrats! And a Republican victory here would probably, paradoxically, lead to fewer Republican victories in November as the Democratic base mobilizes.

    2. Mark Says:

      I think you are right but I had trouble believing that a Republican could win the New Jersey Governor’s race and that happened. I guess in special elections anything can happen depending on turnout but all that being said a Republican in Massachusetts is a long shot.

    3. Looking to the Mass. Special Election | The Moderate Voice Says:

      [...] The Drama of the Mass. Special Election [...]

    4. PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Can Kirk Vote After Tuesday if No Winner is Certified? Says:

      [...] There has been for about a week that should Scott Brown pull out a win that the state would try to delay him taking his seat so as to allow a a vote on health care reform (I noted this, for example, here). [...]

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