Campaign Crawlers

Downtown Scotty Brown

Scott's shot heard 'round the world

By 1.20.10

BOSTON, Mass. -- If every Republican in Massachusetts wasn't inside the ballroom of the Park Plaza Hotel on Tuesday night, it was only because the city's fire marshal is a Democrat.

Ayla Brown, the "American Idol" daughter of Sen.-elect Scott Brown, was rocking the capacity crowd to the tune of "Some Kind of Wonderful" when it was announced that Democrat Martha Coakley had conceded. The crowd began to chant: "John Kerry's next! John Kerry's next!"

Like the 2004 Boston Red Sox who broke an eight-decade curse by winning the World Series, Brown's victorious surge has inspired Republicans in Massachusetts and nationwide to believe that anything is possible.

While Brown's supporters chanted inside the ballroom, the candidate's sister Lee Ann was outside the hotel on the sidewalk beside Arlington Street.

"What kind of guy is he?" she said of her older brother, who was a surrogate father in their single-mom home. "When there was a father-daughter event at my school, Scott took me. When there was a parent-teacher conference and our mom couldn't make it because she had to work, Scott was there."

At Tuesday's victory celebration, Brown was there for every member of the American majority who, according to polls, believe that Obama and the Democrats have been taking the nation in the wrong direction. Brown's victory in Massachusetts was celebrated by Republicans and conservatives nationwide.

Many contributed, many volunteered, but the lion's share of the credit belongs to Lee Ann's big brother -- a candidate who ran a nearly flawless campaign and showed that a conservative message can appeal to independent voters.

"Tonight, the independent majority has delivered a great victory," Brown said in his victory speech.

"Forty-one! Forty-one!" the crowd chanted in response. And when the crowded quieted slightly, the candidate struck a populist theme.

"While the honor is mine…this is the people's seat," Brown said, adding that he had spoken by phone to interim Sen. Paul Kirk, whose career in Washington can't end soon enough for Brown's supporters.

"Seat him now! Seat him now!" the crowd chanted.

This wasn't the first long shot Brown has made. As a high school basketball star, his skill at hitting long-range jump shots earned him the nickname "Downtown Scotty Brown."

For weeks, Brown had described his quest to win this Senate seat -- occupied by Ted Kennedy for more than four decades -- as a battle against "the machine." Tuesday night, he turned that phrase around, telling his supporters: "Tonight we have shown everyone -- you are the machine!"

For a Republican to win here in Massachusetts required a convergence of several forces, including a conservative grassroots hungry for a winner and a Democratic opponent so spectacularly inept as to alienate many of her own party's constituencies. During the course of her campaign, Coakley insulted Catholics, Red Sox Fans and pickup truck drivers.

After the balloons had dropped and the confetti cannons had covered the ballroom floor with red, white and blue paper, Rob Eno of the Massachusetts conservative blog Red Mass Group sat down and said, "I can't begin to say how huge this is."

For once, it seemed, the Establishment had been defeated and the people had won. Like the patriot militia whose stand at Concord Bridge turned back the vanguard of the British empire, the Brown Brigades believe they have begun a revolution.

"This really does change everything -- you know that?" said Mitt Romney, the state's former Republican governor and a 2008 presidential candidate. "America belongs to the people. Scott Brown's victory is a shot heard 'round the world."

Republican candidates across the country will study this campaign -- "template" was a buzzword heard often among the GOP operatives on the Brown team -- as an example for the 2010 mid-term election, now slightly more than nine months away. A year after President Obama's inauguration, Democrats must now contend with a Republican Party reinvigorated by a hard-fought victory.

"Let them take a look at what happened in Massachusetts," Brown told the cheering crowd in the Park Plaza ballroom, "because what happened here in Massachusetts can happen all over America."

Then the man who won this breakthrough victory repeated a simple slogan from his campaign.

"I'm Scott Brown. I'm from Wrentham. I drive a truck."

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