Final Debate For Senate Candidates

The candidates for the U.S. Senate have one last chance Monday night to appeal to voters in a state-wide broadcast before the special election. The three candidates meet for a one hour debate, which one political analyst calls more significant than most political debates.

The debate in the Campus Center Ballroom on the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts includes Democratic nominee Martha Coakley, Republican nominee Scott Brown and third-party candidate Joseph L. Kennedy. It is sponsored by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The 7 p.m. debate will be broadcast on television and radio stations throughout Massachusetts, including WBUR.

Candidates will respond to questions from moderator David Gergen of Harvard University. They also will ask questions of one another.

The debate could have more impact on the race than most political debates, according to a political science professor at UMass-Boston.

"We're seeing a highly truncated period of time for this unprecedented election to occur,” said Professor Paul Watanabe. “There have not been very many opportunities for campaigning. And there certainly have been very few opportunities for the candidates to have their discussion broadcast through most of the state.”

Watanabe suggested that Brown has the most riding on the debate, which makes it essential for him to attract voters’ attention.

“He is somebody who is not well known. This will be his one opportunity in a big way to change the dynamic of this race,” Watanabe said.

Coakley appears to have a substantial lead over Brown. A poll conducted for the Boston Globe showed she had a 15 percentage point advantage over Brown. The poll had a 4.2 percentage point margin of error.

This program aired on January 11, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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