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Senate Candidate Profiles

A compilation of WBUR reports and interviews featuring the three candidates for Massachusetts' vacant U.S. Senate seat. The special general election is Jan. 19.


Scott Brown (R)

Scott Brown
Scott Brown

Republican Sen. Scott Brown, 50, has served Wrentham in the state Legislature since 1999, first as a member of the House representing the towns of Millis, Norfolk, Walpole and Wrentham, then as a member of the state Senate for the district that stretches from Natick and Needham, through the Blackstone Valley and south to Attleboro.

  • Elected in 2004 in one of the closest special elections in recent memory, beating his Democratic opponent, Angus McQuilken, by only 349 votes.
  • Got involved in politics in the early 1990s, serving as an assessor and then Wrentham selectman
  • Has served for nearly 30 years in the Massachusetts National Guard, where he holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps

In his campaign biography, Brown says he has helped lead the fight against wasteful government spending and raising taxes. He acknowledges being the underdog in the U.S. Senate campaign, and he says that status will make him the hardest-working candidate in the race. Brown says his position is one of "no new taxes, strong security for our country, not being a rubber stamp in Washington."

WBUR Feature Reports:

Campaign Web site: brownforussenate.com


Martha Coakley (D)

Martha Coakley
Martha Coakley

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s 20-year legal career was focused until recently in seeking to protect children. She started out as a civil defense attorney but then became a prosecutor under then-Middlesex District Attorney Scott Harshbarger. Those who worked with Coakley say she was fearless in the cases she took on and dogged in her approach. She rose quickly up the ranks and was elected attorney general in 2006.

  • Prosecuted au pair Louise Woodward in the high-profile shaken-baby death
  • Argued against letting convicted child molester Gerald “Tookie” Amirault out of prison early
  • As Middlesex district attorney, oversaw the successful prosecution of priests John Geoghan and Paul Shanley for sexual abuse
  • As attorney general, argued for ethics reform in the State House and the rights of same-sex couples to marry
  • In 2008, dropped criminal charges against Big Dig contractor Bechtel Parsons Brinkerhoff in exchange for a $458 million settlement, after admitting responsibility for leaks in the tunnels and the ceiling collapse

WBUR Feature Reports:

Campaign Web site: MarthaCoakley.com


Joseph L. Kennedy (I)

Joseph L. Kennedy
Joseph L. Kennedy

Joseph L. Kennedy is an independent candidate who identifies as Libertarian. He bears no relation to the late senator whose term he is seeking to complete.

WBUR Feature Reports:

Campaign Web site: http://joekennedyforsenate.com

This program aired on November 1, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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