The next Scott Brown?

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  February 10, 2010


WHAT IT WILL TAKE

But whatever Kennedy's strengths, observers say the incumbent faces his toughest race since Vigilante.

Touting his work on job creation will be tough in a state with nearly 13 percent unemployment. And if State Representative Jon Brien, a conservative Woonsocket Democrat, follows through on threats of a primary challenge to Kennedy, the incumbent could sustain some damage headed into the general election.

Moreover, Loughlin — who estimates that two-thirds to three-quarters of his campaign donations have come from out-of-state donors identified through direct-mail and email solicitations — has a shot at building the $1.2 million war chest he says he'll need to be competitive.

And the state representative has a voter base and an experience with politics and the press that most of Kennedy's previous GOP challengers have lacked. "When the bright lights come on," one Democrat insider said, "he's not going to flinch."

But if Loughlin is to pull off a big upset — if he is to knock the incumbent out of what the political odds-makers still consider a safe Democratic seat — he will probably need help from forces beyond his control.

A major gaffe by Kennedy would prove helpful. Abject failure on health care reform. An economy that remains lifeless. Even a terrorist attack on American soil could help his campaign.

But even with all or most of that, Loughlin will need something more. Something a little more elusive — something like the strange fever that came over our northern neighbor just a few weeks ago, exciting a placid electorate and turning a blue state an unlikely shade of Brown.

David Scharfenberg can be reached at dscharfenberg@phx.com.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  | 
  Topics: News Features , U.S. Government, U.S. State Government, Jim Langevin,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIBERAL WARRIOR  |  April 10, 2013
    When it comes to his signature issues — climate change, campaign finance reform, tax fairness — Whitehouse makes little secret of his approach: marshal the facts, hammer the Republicans, and embarrass them into action.
  •   AT BROWN, A WIN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVISTS  |  April 11, 2013
    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted to recommend the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.
  •   HACKING POLITICS: A GUIDE  |  April 03, 2013
    Last year, the Internet briefly upended everything we know about American politics.
  •   BREAK ON THROUGH  |  March 28, 2013
    When I spoke with Treasurer Gina Raimondo this week, I opened with the obligatory question about whether she'll run for governor. "I'm seriously considering it," she said. "But I think as you know — we've talked about it before — I have little kids: a six-year-old, an eight-year-old. I'm a mother. It's a big deal."
  •   THE LIBERAL CASE FOR GUNS  |  March 27, 2013
    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope not just for sensible gun regulation, but for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture. Neither wish has been realized.

 See all articles by: DAVID SCHARFENBERG