Politics: Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate Win

State Senator Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate win over Attorney General Martha Coakley stunned the nation, derailed Obama’s signature political initiative, and handed state Republicans their first major victory in decades. Here, a behind-the-scenes look at the final days of the historic campaign for Ted Kennedy’s seat.

By Paul Kix | Boston Magazine |

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13
Two nights ago, after the debate, the Brown campaign announced it had raised $1.3 million in a single day, a day that is now known as the “money bomb.” Eric Fehrnstrom and the rest didn’t think they could top it.

But each day the campaign rakes in more than the money bomb. Brown ultimately will raise $13 million, $12 million of it online. All this cash allows his social-media director, Rob Willington, to create an iPhone and BlackBerry app that finds likely voters for Brown on specific streets in specific towns, and reminds them to vote next Tuesday.

And who begins to use this new tool? The volunteers that keep appearing at Brown’s field offices day after day but can’t find an empty slot at the phone bank. All weekend, Willington sends them into the streets, app in hand.

JANUARY 13–15
The Democratic groups begin bombarding the airwaves with negative ads against Brown. The last week of the campaign, the DSCC spends $1.6 million on ads, SEIU $572,000, and the women’s political group Emily’s List $170,000, according to figures from the Coakley campaign. Frictions develop over the ads’ effectiveness. “These are the national guys, so you want to pay them a bit of deference,” one Bay Stater close to the Coakley campaign will say.

But the national people don’t have the feel for the local -populace, don’t understand how quickly the average Massachusetts voter can recoil from blunt tactics. One national spot spells the state’s name as “Massachusettes,” which says as much about the DC Democrats as it does about the Coakley campaign.

To make matters worse, the Globe runs a story in which Coakley sneers at the thought of shaking hands in the cold to win votes. And on WBZ Radio, she calls Red Sox legend Curt Schilling a Yankees fan. “She could have excused any one of these things. But when you add them all up, they hurt her,” a Brown campaign staffer will later say.

By Friday, the news reports are citing a Suffolk University/Channel 7 poll that shows Brown leading by 4 points.