Image: Scott Brown
Robert F. Bukaty  /  AP
Republican Scott Brown, who had just $367,150 in his campaign account on Jan. 1, pulled in $1.3 million in a 24-hour online blitz last week.
updated 1/17/2010 3:14:21 PM ET 2010-01-17T20:14:21

Millions in campaign cash are flooding into Massachusetts in the final days of the race to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat, funding an all-out ad war between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown.

Voters can't turn on a television or radio without being deluged by appeals on behalf of Brown or Coakley — or, more often, sharply worded attack ads.

Neither campaign would detail how much it has raised since Jan. 1, and disclosure laws make it hard to come up with firm, up-to-date numbers. But the figure easily reached into the millions in just the past week, according to a review of the fundraising numbers the candidates have confirmed combined with expenditures by interest groups.

"Money has poured in unlike anything I've seen in a one-week period in the history of Massachusetts," said Paul Watanabe, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts. "This is money that Martha Coakley didn't expect that she would have to raise and this is money that Scott Brown thought he couldn't raise."

The race changed when polls suggested Brown, considered a long shot, was closing on Coakley. Conservative groups sensed a chance to quash President Obama's agenda and hand a defeat to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Brown, who had just $367,150 in his campaign account on Jan. 1, pulled in $1.3 million in a 24-hour online blitz last week.

A range of advocacy groups is also backing Brown, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has spent $500,000 on a television campaign, to the Tea Party movement, which has spent $200,000.

"The reason we're endorsing Scott Brown is that his vote would be critical to defeating Harry Reid's health care plan which the Tea Party movement is universally opposed to," said Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell.

Others have zeroed in on Brown's promise to be the "41st vote" against the health care bill. The legislation needs 60 votes to advance in the 100-member Senate.

Americans for Responsible Health Care is spending $200,000 on two TV spots calling Brown "the nation's best last chance to stop this harmful legislation." The Iowa-based conservative advocacy group American Future Fund has spent about $600,000 on an ad asserting Coakley "supports the reckless spending by Washington politicians."

"Thanks to a tremendous outpouring of grass-roots support, we have the ability to pay our bills and get our message out," said Felix Browne, a spokesman for Brown's campaign.

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Coakley, who had nearly $1 million in her account on Jan. 1 after a four-way primary battle, has been buoyed by appeals on her behalf by Obama and Kennedy's widow, Vicki Kennedy. The campaign said the Vicki Kennedy appeal raised about $700,000 in a day.

Coakley also benefited from a Washington fundraiser attended in part by health care industry lobbyists.

Like Brown's, Coakley's campaign is being aided by outside groups.

EMILY's List, which supports female candidates who back abortion rights, is spending about $250,000 on a radio ad it says highlights Brown's record of voting with the Republican leadership.

SEIU, a union representing 60,000 service employees across Massachusetts, is making one the biggest campaign investments, spending up to $685,000 on ads faulting Brown for opposing a crackdown on excessive Wall Street bonuses.

In the past seven days, Coakley has also received $350,000 from the environmental advocacy group the League of Conservation Voters and $100,000 from another union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Will GOP candidate win Kennedy's seat?

  1. Closed captioning of: Will GOP candidate win Kennedy's seat?

    >>> vacant senate seat. with 48 hours to go before the voters head to the polls what was thought to be a run away election looks like a nail biter. democrat martha coakley is trailing scott brown . she has 46% of the vote compared to brown's 50%. keep in mind, if the republicans win, the democrats lose their 60 vote super majority in the senate and that means republicans could have the power to filibuster the health bill to death. joining me live, kneel, staff writer for "the boston globe " magazine. good morning to you.

    >> good morning.

    >> i know this is a local race but this thing is about anything but just local. i mean there's a lot of national issues at stake. put this in perspective.

    >> well, it's interesting. i think the story here is the story of miscalculation. in the beginning, martha coakley assumed this would be her race to lose and caution prevailed. she didn't campaign that aggressively and that worked for her in the primary. there wasn't a whole lot of attention in the primary and it did seem as though she would do fine in the general election . given the advantages of the state and given that this was the seat that ted kennedy had occupied for half a century. but, obviously, things have tightened quite a bit. and the miscalculation also falls to the obama administration and the national democrats . you can be assured that if they thought this race would be this close they would have done everything they could to get health care reform passed prior to this election.

    >> but neil, when you've got a campaign that's up by 30 points in november, you can see why there might have been a small element of complacency, certainly not wise, but see why it would be there. what happened? was there something specifically? was there a turning point where you saw things tighten up and go south for martha coakley ?

    >> well, i think there are two things that are important. one is that from the outside, massachusetts seems as though this is just a liberal democratic stronghold of a state, and, of course, massachusetts is more complex than just cambridge. there's a majority of the voters in the state are independents. they're not enrolled. so the advantage is generally to the democratic party because the republican apparatus here isn't strong at all. people just assumed that would kind of carry along the way. martha coakley , as accomplished as she is, has never really had a tough race before. generally a cautious person she carried herself very cautiously and conservatively in terms of campaigning and voters, i think, recoiled a little bit from this expectation that they were just to go along with what everyone said was going to happen. and then, of course, the national focus came into play here with the 41st vote. scott brown , very carefully and strategically presented himself as the person to block health care reform and drew a lot of national attention and money in the final days of this race.

    >> yeah. well, if all goes according to schedule, the president set to speak there at a rally about 3:00 p.m . this afternoon. is that enough? when you look at this, which is virtually a statistical dead heat , 50% for brown, 46% for coakley, plus or minus mar ghins they're pretty much in a tie, is the president's presence enough to put martha coakley over the top and if that does not happen is the president unnecessarily risking his reputation?

    >> i agree with what other people have said that the president really had no choice. he was going to get blamed either way for this given that health care reform has taken on such an important role, a central role, in this campaign. so, president obama is still quite popular here, more popular than he is in other parts of the country. but his ratings have kind of been sur pressed plately with everything going on in washington too. the real question i think is, what's going on, what will happen on election day and that comes down to motivation of voters and apparatus. the motivation pollsters tell us is the brown voters seem to be more motivated at this point but the apparatus of getting out the vote generally goes to the democratic party and it may have been a wake-up call also for coakley supporters.

    >> a lot more democrats certainly registered in that state, but bottom line, when it comes to special elections , isn't voter turnout usually on the light side ?

    >> yes. but this is a kind of special case here where people don't know what's going to happen. i think generally in the primary, it was very low. the turnout and interest was low in the rate. i think interest is quite high now and turnout might match that.

    >> okay. neil with "the boston


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