In the first phase of the special election that is bound to have a significant impact on American politics for at least another year, Martha Coakley and Scott Brown won the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively, to replace Senator Edward Kennedy who died last August.
Coakley, who is the state’s attorney general, won 47 percent of the vote, and expressed her hope that Massachusetts voters will "help send a different kind of leader to Washington," in the January 19, 2010 vote.
If she wins, the 56-year-old politician will become the first female senator from the Bay State, which prompted Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine to say that he could not "think of a more fitting tribute to [Kennedy], who dedicated his life to advancing civil rights and expanding opportunity for women and minorities."
Her opponent in the January poll will be Brown, who is a state senator, and who beat his only opponent Jack E. Robinson by winning more than 90 percent of the vote.
"I don’t pretend to have all the answers," he stated after his victory was announced, adding that "I will do all that I can to help make our country strong and prosperous once again."
The special election will be watched closely by the rest of the nation as it will determine whether or not the Senate Democrats will maintain their supermajority of 60 votes that allows them to block a Republican filibuster.