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Boston Globe: Democratic candidate Martha Coakley wants Joe Kennedy included in Massachusetts US Senate debate

by Matt Viser
Boston Globe

LYNN — US Senate candidate Martha Coakley suggested today that she would not agree to debates unless long-shot candidate Joseph L. Kennedy is included, a strategy that appears to be an effort to make the contest a three-person affair.

“I think it’s very important at this stage in the game that everybody on the ballot be involved in these debates,” she said this afternoon. “The campaigns are in the process of talking about that now, but there are three candidates and everybody who?s going to cast a ballot on Jan. 19 should know that.”

On Tuesday, Coakley won the Democratic nomination and state Senator Scott Brown won the Republican nomination.

Kennedy, who is no relation to the famed political family, is a Libertarian who launched an independent bid for US Senate. He is the only candidate not in a major party who turned in the 10,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

Having a three-way debate would help Coakley, the front-runner in the race, and would make it harder for Brown to clearly differentiate himself from Coakley. As a libertarian, Kennedy is also more likely to pull votes from Brown than he is from Coakley, so giving him broad exposure on a televised debate could hurt Brown’s chances.

Coakley said there have been requests made for eight debates, and her campaign is considering them now. When asked whether she would refuse to debate unless Kennedy was included, she said, “We haven’t gotten to that yet.”

“I’m a Democrat, we live in a democracy, and this is one of the treasures that we have,” she said.”If people can get the votes and get the support, they’re allowed to get their message out to voters. … He has done what Massachusetts says he needs to to be on the ballot here. In that sense he puts himself out as a candidate.”

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11 Comments

  1. Adrian Scott Adrian Scott December 13, 2009

    Remind you of anything? When Perot got access to the debates in 1992, it was because George H. W. Bush, the loser of the race, lobbied for his participation – not Clinton. It was believed then that Perot would just suck votes from Clinton, but apparently that wasn’t the case.

    In my mind, Coakley is clearly politicking here, but when your message benefits, who are you to complain?

  2. paulie paulie December 13, 2009

    New England Cable Network:

  3. paulie paulie December 12, 2009

    Boston Herald weighs in:

    http://news.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view/20091212coakley_urges_3-way_senate_debates/srvc=home&position=recent

    By Associated Press

    Democratic Senate hopeful Martha Coakley is urging her Republican opponent Scott Brown to take part in three-way debates.

    Coakley spokesman Alex Zaroulis said Saturday that the Democrat wants Brown to join her in debating Joseph L. Kennedy before the Jan. 19 general election.

    Kennedy is a Libertarian who is running as an independent. He is not related to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

    Zaroulis said the campaign does not understand why Brown is reluctant to face both in potential debates.

    But Felix Browne, a spokesman for Brown’s campaign, faulted Coakley for not even debating her GOP opponent, Larry Frisoli, during her 2006 race for Attorney General.

    Both sides say they are reviewing debate invitations.

  4. paulie paulie December 12, 2009

    Seems to me that Coackley is an actual Democrat, unlike the rest of the party, which is running by anti-democrats.

    It’s probably situational, but I’ll take it.

  5. Third Party Revolution Third Party Revolution December 12, 2009

    Seems to me that Coackley is an actual Democrat, unlike the rest of the party, which is running by anti-democrats.

  6. Thane Eichenauer Thane Eichenauer December 12, 2009

    I’ll think that once you subtract the folks that will always think that any Kennedy is “a” Kennedy from those people who think that Libertarians are fiscally conservative Republicans it will end up as a wash.

  7. paulie paulie December 11, 2009

    Well, duh.

  8. Solomon Drek Solomon Drek December 11, 2009

    I think she also wants to make sure that voters, especially the elderly and democrats, know that thsi is not the former Congressman and Ted’s nephew.

  9. Mik Robertson Mik Robertson December 11, 2009

    Go Joe!

  10. paulie paulie December 11, 2009

    If Brown does not want to debate Joe, Coakley and Kennedy should debate head to head. Maybe leave a chair for Scott just in case he changes his mind and decides to show up 🙂

  11. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi December 11, 2009

    ooo, interesting. Hope Joe’s ready for prime time!

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