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As Polls Close

I'm told Martha Coakley's campaign is "cautiously optimistic." Of what, I don't know. I do know that a prominent Dem in the state is saying Brown wins by 5. But we'll see.

It's been interesting to have the national political attention on a Massachusetts election. We haven't had that probably since what, Weld-Kerry? And even that was just one of several going on.

We seldom get this kind of thing -- the independent groups running nasty ads, the national blogosphere ranting, the 24/7 news channels talking about us. A bunch of other states get this periodically: Ohio, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, any Presidential 'swing state,' and of course Iowa/New Hampshire etc. I always enjoy travelling to other states when they happen to be in the middle of one of these, with the constant TV ads, one more outrageous than the last, and the interplay of local and national analysis.

We got the full effect the past couple of weeks, and I think it both attracted and repulsed Bay Staters. You can't help but get sucked into its eddy, but it just makes you more and more unhappy with the very politics that you are becoming more engaged in. And that ultimately played well for Scott Brown, I think, because it dramatically raised political participation (which he needed, b/c he couldn't win a 'base' election) while simultaneously turning those participants against politicians -- while he cleverly redefined himself as not being a politician, and Coakley obligingly reinforced, over and over, that she is a politician.

Anyway, we'll soon see how it shakes out. Follow me on Twitter the next few hours (@dbernstein), and then I'll be back with thoughts here on the blog later.

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