When Ted Kennedy passed away it started a chain reaction the likes of which the Commonwealth has not seen in a very long time because suddenly there was this opening for the most storied political office in our history. David Bernstein, the senior political writer for the Boston Phoenix and a man who I have jostled with on twitter over his initial prediction of a Coakley rout, wrote a very thorough and fantastic piece explaining this. His initial prediction is that in addition to all of the contested constitutional office races this fall there will be the inevitable scramble to replace Martha Coakley as attorney general. The over/under on the number of candidates who are jockeying for that seat is six and it is almost a guarantee that the appointee will be a state representative because of the numerical superiority the House has over the Senate.
A Scott Brown victory will send shockwaves throughout the nation but more importantly it will throw a giant monkey wrench into the political culture of Massachusetts. The natural progression of entrenched incumbents up the political ladder will be, if only briefly, halted. Coakley is doomed either way because she will face a primary challenger for AG if she loses or she will face a primary challenger if she wins in 2012.
A Brown victory will lead to a clamoring of local Republican selectman, school committee members, and others throwing their hats in the ring for state representative and state senate races. It will put the fear of God in elected incumbents the way the 1990 deluge did. Whether it will lead to a string of victories in November remains to be seen but it will certainly lead to more competitive races down the ballot.
Even if Brown loses it has infused the local conservative movement with energy that Barbara Anderson says she hasn’t seen in a long time. In some ways the Republicans have already won without actually winning.