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Coakley Wins Democratic Race For Senate Seat

Attorney General Martha Coakley checks the podium at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston on Tuesday. (AP)
Attorney General Martha Coakley checks the podium at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston on Tuesday. (AP)

Attorney General Martha Coakley has defeated three other candidates to win the Democratic nomination in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

The 56-year-old Coakley is vying to be the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. She defeated Rep. Michael Capuano, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca in Tuesday's special primary election.

Coakley acknowledged Kennedy and his family during her acceptance speech before the several hundred people gathered for her campaign party at the Sheraton Hotel.

Listen: Coakley's Victory Speech
http://audio.wbur.org/storage/2009/12/news_1208_speech-coakley.mp3

"And now I want you to join me in honoring our beloved Sen. Ted Kennedy," Coakley told the crowd, her voice rising. "Not in a moment of silence, but in a huge round of applause that Ted is appreciating tonight and that fills this room."

Massachusetts' senior Sen. John Kerry introduced Coakley Tuesday night and said her win smashed a "glass ceiling." Coakley told supporters she is breaking new ground.

"They said that women don’t have much luck in Massachusetts politics," Coakley said. "And we believed that it was quite possible that that luck was about to change — and change it did tonight."

A Coakley aide called the win a "monster" because the attorney general won 47 percent of the vote in a four-way race. She maintained a comfortable lead all evening.

Coakley laid the groundwork for her campaign well before Kennedy died - hiring campaign staff, printing signs and securing Web addresses.

On the Republican side, State Sen. Scott Brown defeated attorney Jack E. Robinson.

The two face off in a general election Jan. 19. All three of Coakley's Democratic challengers said Tuesday they would support her in the general election.

Coakley had strong name recognition: She was the only candidate who'd previously run a statewide campaign.

This program aired on December 8, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Monica Brady-Myerov Twitter Reporter
Monica Brady-Myerov was formerly a report in WBUR's newsroom.

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