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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

The Massachusetts Board of Elections has not posted anything official yet, but the Associated Press has called both the Republican and Democratic special election primaries to fill the seat vacated by the death this summer of Ted Kennedy and currently occupied for the moment by Paul Kirk–and there are no surprises.

On the Democratic side, attorney general Martha Coakley won a four-way race with a projected 47 percent of the vote; with 78 percent of the vote, state senator Scott Brown defeated Jack Robinson for the Republican nomination. Though nobody can fill Kennedy’s shoes metaphorically, Coakley and Brown square off in just six weeks to determine who will take the late senator’s seat for the remainder of the current term. (The seat will be on the ballot next for a full six-year term in 2012.)

In this solidly Democratic seat, Coakley is the clear favorite. But turnout was low today and presumably will be for the January 19 special election. It will be interesting to see if Republicans try to, well, make the general election interesting–a narrow Democratic win, coupled with the party’s defeats in the gubernatorial races last month in New Jersey and Virginia, would fuel the storyline that the Democrats are headed for bigger losses in the 2010 midterms. And if Coakley somehow lost to the conservative Brown? Now that would send a shock through the political system.

The only other race on the ballot tonight of which I’m aware was the special election in Kentucky’s 14th senate district, which Republican Jimmy Higdon won over Democrat Joy Haydon. (Weird how similar their names are.) The Republican State Leadership Committee notes that Higdon’s win is the 33rd state special election the GOP has won nationwide since November 2008.

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