BOSTON (BNO NEWS) – Republican Scott Brown on Tuesday won the special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts to replace former U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, whose family held the seat since 1953.
Massachusetts voters chose Brown to fill the seat, defeating Democratic nominee Martha Coakley, the state’s Attorney General. The seat was left vacant after Kennedy’s death on August 25, but Paul Kirk, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was appointed to serve in the interim.
After 2,084 out of 2,168 precincts reported their results, Brown led with about 52 percent of the vote (1,112,566 votes). Democrat Martha Coakley received 47% (1,005,984 votes), while independent candidate Joseph Kennedy only received 1% (21,373 votes). BNO News declared Brown the winner at 9.06 p.m. Eastern time, based on preliminary results and other data.
“The people have spoken, thank you!,” Brown wrote on his Twitter profile after he was declared the winner of Tuesday’s race. He earlier thanked his supporters, saying “you were incredible” and calling it an “amazing campaign.”
Martha Coakley did not immediately post to her Twitter profile after losing the election, but did call Brown to concede, a campaign official said. “Thank you for your support and hard work throughout this campaign,” Coakley wrote on her Twitter profile when polls closed.
“This evening the President spoke to both candidates in the hard-fought Massachusetts Senate race,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement. “The President congratulated Senator Brown on his victory and a well-run campaign.”
President Obama told Brown he is looking forward to work with him on “urgent economic challenges.” Obama also called Coakley to thank her for her “hard work” and urged her to continue her advocacy on behalf of working people.
The race drew national attention after Brown unexpectedly closed the gap and overtook Coakley in recent independent and internal polling.
Brown was previously elected to the Massachusetts Senate in a special election on March 2, 2004, and also won re-election in November 2008.
On September 12, 2009, Brown announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate seat that had become vacant, saying the state “needs an independent thinker.” He’s a socially moderate Republican with fiscally conservative views. Brown has been described by many conservatives and academics as a fairly liberal Republican by national standards, but well suited for his Massachusetts constituency.
Only a week before the general election, Brown raised $1.3 million from over 16,000 donors in a 24-hour fundraising effort. His campaign office stated it raised $5 million over the period in a four-day period, from January 11-15.
Brown’s election will have a significant impact on health care reform in the United States, as an additional Republican Senate seat will change the dynamic of President Obama’s strategy in Congress.