As the special election for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat gets on its way, the race between the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley and Republican candidate Scott Brown may come down to the wire. However, third party Libertarian candidate, Joe Kennedy, is making his mark on the election as well. As voter turnout is expected to be off the charts, the Kennedy campaign expects to see returns of two to three, but perhaps even as high as five percent.
Just as everything else about this election, the support for Kennedy’s candidacy is everything but conventional. Rather than splitting the conservative vote, the Kennedy campaign thinks that a large portion of its supporters may come from disillusioned and frustrated Democrats. “I think were taking more from Coakley,” said David Galusi, Kennedy’s campaign manager. Much of the state’s Democratic base has become upset by the rampant spending of Congress, but is uneasy about the prospect of Scott Brown and his socially conservative ideology. In addition, Galusi says that Coakley’s poor candidacy and negative campaigning has turned of Massachusetts Democrats, specifically with a flier targeting Brown’s position on abortion, which suggests Brown wants to deny hospital coverage to rape victims.
As far as conservative voters go, Brown seems to be the favorite. Despite Kennedy winning the endorsement of several tea parties early in the race, the Tea Party movement has settled on Brown, seeing his victory at a plausible chance at stopping healthcare reform. While Kennedy’s base, Independent Libertarians, have been mobilized to hit the polls by a Libertarian candidacy, the small government tea party voters seem to have chosen electability over strong principles. However, Galusi does argue that Kennedy will be taking some votes from both sides.
Although a Kennedy victory, to put it mildly, is a one-in-a-million, his taking of votes from the Democrat gives high hopes to future Libertarian candidates. If Kennedy can take votes from both Democrats and Republicans, a well funded candidate in the future may have a shot at winning an election. Galusi foresees Libertarian wins not necessarily at the federal, but perhaps the state and local levels. As for his boss, Galusi says, “You’ll see more of Joe Kennedy in the future.”