The Washington Times - January 9, 2010, 07:15PM

Public Policy Polling put out a release today citing a toss up for the upcoming special election for the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts.:

The race to replace Ted Kennedy in the US Senate is looking like a toss up, with Republican Scott Brown up 48-47 on Martha Coakley.

Brown is benefiting from depressed Democratic interest in the election and a huge lead among independents for his surprisingly strong standing. Those planning to vote in the special election only report having voted for Barack Obama in 2008 by a 16 point margin, in contrast to his actual 26 point victory in the state.

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PPP also says that Mr. Brown is leading with independents 63 to 31 and is winning 17 percent of the Democratic vote, while his Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley can only garner 6 percent of GOP voters. In terms of health care, those planning to vote in the January 19 election are opposed to President Obama’s health care plan by a 47/41 margin.

“The Massachusetts Senate race is shaping up as a potential disaster for Democrats,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Martha Coakley’s complacent campaign has put Scott Brown in a surprisingly strong position and she will need to step it up in the final week to win a victory once thought inevitable.”

While Mr. Brown, a GOP state Senator, seems to have the wind at his back, The Boston Herald is reporting that even if the Republican wins, which would take away the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the Senate, Massachusetts Democrats may try to ensure that Mr. Brown would not be certified before the final health care reform legislation can be passed in the Senate.:

The U.S. Senate ultimately will schedule the swearing-in of Kirk’s successor, but not until the state certifies the election.

Today, a spokesman for Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin William Galvin, who is overseeing the election but did not respond to a call seeking comment, said certification of the Jan. 19 election by the Governor’s Council would take a while.

“Because it’s a federal election,” spokesman Brian McNiff said. “We’d have to wait 10 days for absentee and military ballots to come in.”

Another source told the Herald that Galvin’s office has said the election won’t be certified until Feb. 20 - well after the president’s address.

Since the U.S. Senate doesn’t meet again in formal session until Jan. 20, Bay State voters will have made their decision before a vote on health-care reform could be held. But Kirk and Galvin’s office said today a victorious Brown would be left in limbo.

In contrast, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) was sworn in at the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 18, 2007, just two days after winning a special election to replace Martin Meehan. In that case, Tsongas made it to Capitol Hill in time to override a presidential veto of the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The Democrats see this race as a possible wrench that could be thrown into the machine that is pushing the monstrosity of health care legislation through Congress. Ironic that it is Ted Kennedy’s former seat, which is causing Democrats to shake a bit.