Martha Coakley, Scott Brown, Joseph Kennedy agree to series of debates in race for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat

Posted by Dan Ring at

BOSTON – The two major party candidates for U.S. Senate will share the stage with the independent hopeful in a series of debates, including one in Springfield early next month.

Attorney General Martha M. Coakley, 56, the Democrat, insisted that independent candidate Joseph L. Kennedy, of Dedham, be included in debates along with state Sen. Scott P. Brown, 50, of Wrentham, the Republican.

“She believes that all of these candidates should participate so voters can make informed choices about who they want to represent them in Washington,” said Corey D. Welford, a spokesman for Coakley.

Felix O. Browne, a spokesman for the Republican state senator, said Brown will debate whomever is on the stage.

Brown views the debates as an opportunity to show clear differences on taxes and other issues between himself and Coakley, according to a spokesman.

The three candidates are running in the Jan. 19 special election to fill the unexpired term of the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who died of brain cancer in August.

Brown, Coakley and Kennedy will face off in the first televised debate on Tuesday. The debate will be taped, and it is scheduled to be aired on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston from 8 to 9 a.m. on Dec. 27 and on WSBK-TV Channel 38 in Boston from 7 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 28.

Brown and Kennedy also have confirmed they will attend a debate on Jan. 8 in Springfield sponsored by WGBY-TV Channel 57. Coakley, who grew up in North Adams, is also expected to attend.

The debate in Springfield is scheduled to be taped and then aired from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 8.

James J. Madigan, director of public affairs for Channel 57, will moderate the debate.

Kennedy, 38, on unpaid leave as a vice president of information technology at State Street Corp. in Boston, turned in about 14,000 signatures of voters to qualify for the ballot.

Kennedy, no relation to the famous Kennedy family, spent about $7,500 of his own money for people to help gather signatures, according to his campaign manager, David C. Galusi.

Kennedy, who grew up in Worcester and graduated from Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester in 1989 and Clark University in Worcester in 1993, could win votes if people confuse him with former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II.

Kennedy is also a libertarian who could take some votes away from Brown.

Galusi said he wanted to applaud Coakley’s appreciation of democracy and desire to allow Kennedy into the debates.

“It would only be fair and right to include him in these debates,” Galusi said.

At least five other debates are scheduled in January, including one at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at Faneuil Hall in Boston sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

Previous IPR coverage:
Rich Rubino at Politics DMZ: ‘Yes, Joe Kennedy can win the Massachusetts U.S. Senate Race’

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22 thoughts on “Martha Coakley, Scott Brown, Joseph Kennedy agree to series of debates in race for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat

  1. Pingback: Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Massachusetts U.S. Senate Debates Will be Three-Way

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  3. Danny S

    This is really awesome! Lots of press makes Mr. Kennedy a legitimate player in this election.

    I think this would be a great opportunity for the LP National to try to moneybomb this fellow if they could. Special election means lower turnout, which is good news for third parties in general. Kennedy has a name that gives him a good amount of press. He has gotten into the debates. And most importantly, Massachusetts is so lopsidedly Democratic the Libertarians can be seen as a far less “quixotic” venture to pursue when Republicans won’t win anyway.

    If the LP wants to pump up its electability and image, I can see no better race in the 2010 elections to pursue than this one, which comes before those even start. Which is another great opportunity: get the pundits talkin about an insurgent Libertarian (BIG L) movement in the runup to 2010!

  4. paulie Post author

    Special election means lower turnout

    I imagine the weather in mid-January New England will keep all but the most committed voters away 🙂

  5. paulie Post author

    Danny S – LPHQ has at least three blog posts about Joe, including two on the front page right now.

    Wes, if you’re reading, please blast those out through the email list too.

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  7. Austin Cassidy

    Good for him, though to be totally honest he’d probably do better if he wasn’t in the debates.

    The Democrat is probably demanding that he be there to a.) lessen the impact of the Republican and b.) make it clear to voters that Joe Kennedy is not a Kennedy-Kennedy.

  8. paulie Post author

    though to be totally honest he’d probably do better if he wasn’t in the debates.

    Depends on how he does in the debates. If he does really well, things can take off and he might end up doing better than what he could have done on name confusion.

    If he bombs or is ho-hum, he may not get as many votes as he might have if people didn’t know that he’s not Joe For Oil. But then it gets into what you hope to accomplish by running.

    In my way of thinking, the whole point is to popularize his views as much as possible. Thus, avoiding debates – even if it were to lead to a higher vote total, which is far from certain – would not be “doing better” in terms of achieving the campaign’s goals. The only exception to that might be if he were to actually win based on name confusion alone, but I don’t think that’s plausible.

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