Martha Coakley Wins Primary In Special Election To Replace Ted Kennedy

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has won the Democratic primary to replace Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate.

The victory came at a critical time for President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party, which is counting on maintaining its 60-seat majority in the 100-member Senate as the body wrestles with legislation for a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system. Coakley, 56, will face Republican state legislator Scott Brown in the January 19 election for the legendary Senate seat, which Edward Kennedy took over from his older brother, President John F. Kennedy. Coakley is heavily favored to win and to serve the rest of Kennedy’s term in the Senate, which will run through 2012. The liberal New England state has not elected a Republican to the Senate in almost 40 years, though it has had a Republican governor for most of the past two decades. “The election is over,” said Jeffrey Berry, a professor of political science at Tufts University. “We have to vote in January, but the outcome is preordained. Coakley will win.”

In July Coakley filed a suit against the federal government claiming that DOMA discriminates against the citizens of her state, making her an instant favorite among LGBT activists.