Democrats turn out to shore up Bay State support for Coakley
By Karl Vick Washington Post
Saturday, January 16, 2010; 11:48 AM
For Massachusetts Democrats scrambling to reverse the momentum of Republican Scott Brown in the U.S. senate race, mission one is to motivate the faithful.
"Teddy always told me when you're in a fight, there's nobody like organized labor," Vicki Kennedy said Saturday morning at the Dorchester headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, where state Attorney General Martha Coakley kicked off a swing across the state. "You're about the future. You're about moving this country forward. You always have been.
"We can't go backwards now," she said.
The assembled union workers cheered the widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, whose August death opened the seat he had occupied for 47 years. But in the home stretch of a shockingly close race that could deprive the Democrats of the crucial 60th Senate vote, loyalties were in question.
Brown, an obscure state senator until a few weeks ago, was setting off on his own tour of the commonwealth, and had the attention of voters Democrats once relied on.
"We have a race on our hands," roared president Robert Haynes, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, in an address to assembled workers that was part warning, part admonishment.
"A lot of our members are dramatically uninformed about this election and about the positions of the two candidates," he said. "There is nothing less than the future of the labor movement in this election. I know right now there are people in this room who think that Martha Coakley has a bad position on health care."
Haynes set out to undo that notion, saying Coakley answered the union's 120-item questionnaire to the union's liking, while Brown declined both to fill it out, or even attend an interview.