What a day for Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican vying for Teddy Kennedy’s former U.S. Senate seat. In recent days, polls have shown Brown steadily closing the gap in what’s become a surprisingly close race against Democrat Martha Coakley. To build on his momentum, Brown went to the web today to raise more cash for his surging campaign. Brown hoped to raise half-a-million dollars in a day, and boy, did his supporters come out in droves. As of 11:40 p.m., Brown has raised over $1,117,000 dollars via his “Red Invades Blue” campaign. Many Republicans have pitched in: To help Brown out, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty both sent out fundraising appeals on his behalf.
Brown’s million-dollar day is big news. Some context: In 2009, Brown raised $1.2 million, nearly all of it coming from individuals. The new money gives Brown the cash he needs to take to the airwaves, especially since Coakley already has a strong war chest after raising $5.2 million in 2009. Plus, think about this: At the beginning of 2010, Brown, according to FEC reports, had just $367,000 in the bank. In one day he’s tripled that number. His sum is also inching close to, or possibly surpassing, Coakley, who, according to the FEC, had $937,000 in her campaign account at the beginning of this year. As my friend Eric Kleefeld points out at TPM, things are looking great for Scott (and the GOP):
Regardless of whether Brown wins or loses in this Democratic state, one thing is clear: National conservative activists have been able to take a clear interest in this race, and they could mobilize themselves for a cause in a similar way to the liberal Netroots during the Bush years.
Rush Limbaugh also weighed in today on his radio program:
It is really, really bad for the Democrats out there all over the country electorally. In Massachusetts, the pollsters are kind of coalescing around the idea that Martha Coakley is going to win, but Scott Brown keeps raising money, big-time money. The fact that the Democrats are having to fight this hard… I mean, they’re sending the union troops in there! The fact that the Democrats are having to fight at all for Ted Kennedy’s seat! Wouldn’t it be the most delicious irony if the Ted Kennedy seat were lost, preventing health care from passing?
Now, I know that the Democrats, if Scott Brown wins, are going to delay his swearing in until after the health care vote. They’ll delay it a couple of months if they have to, an emergency change to the law, but everybody’s going to see this. The Democrats are now running naked through the streets. There’s no cover. Everybody sees them for who they are: Job destroyers, private sector destroyers.
So did Mitt Romney on Fox News:
ROMNEY: Yes, I think this is surprising a lot of people. Most people expected that a Democrat would just roll into Ted Kennedy’s seat, as Ted Kennedy has year after year after year. But Massachusetts is not as monolithic a liberal state as people think. Massachusetts voted for Ronald Reagan twice, elected the Republican governor 16 straight years. And right now, there’s a lot of anger in Massachusetts, among independents in particular, about the Obama health care plan. And I think what you’re seeing is people are flocking to Scott Brown. He’s narrowed the race. It’s a single-digit race now. And he’s raising money from across the country. I think he’s — he’s a guy who very well could win this thing. And he’s an independent-minded Republican. He’s not just a, you know, rubber stamp kind of guy. But he brings an energy and a passion and some experience to this race that I think is galvanizing support in Massachusetts.
VAN SUSTEREN: And so it’s so interesting because should he win on January 19, suddenly, the Senate isn’t filibuster-proof, so it’s so much more profoundly important to the nation. It’s not just important to Massachusetts. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you’ve got to be watching this race.
ROMNEY: It would really say that Massachusetts would be in the catbird’s seat. The senator from Massachusetts would be able to make the key calls on some of these key pieces of legislation, and with regards to health care, to make sure that the lessons about the good in the Massachusetts plan and the bad is accommodated and understood before it’s dealt with in a national plan. It would make all the sense in the world for the people of Massachusetts to elect Scott Brown, and frankly, for people across the country to send him a check for 25 bucks or whatever to say, Look, we care about that 41st vote.
*As the evening progressed, we chronicled the numbers:
UPDATE I: As of 6:10 p.m, Brown’s up to $735,000. This is what we call a true “money bomb.”
UPDATE II: As of 6:40 p.m., Brown’s one-day total is now $758,000. On another note, President Obama has decided to wade (electronically) into race, reports Mark Murray:
It’s not the equivalent of appearing at a rally or cutting a TV ad. But President Obama has now officially waded into next week’s Martha Coakley-vs.-Scott Brown Senate contest in Massachusetts by penning a solicitation to his email list.
Obama continues, “You’ve worked so hard to organize around these and so many other critical issues. And now we’re so close to passing health reform — finally realizing Senator Kennedy’s life’s work. But we cannot get the job done without Martha Coakley in the Senate. And that means it may well all come down to you. I’m asking you to pledge a few hours or as much time as you can spare in this last critical week to volunteer at an event near you to help Martha win.”
An e-mail is nice, but President Obama still seems disinterested in making a trip up to Boston for Martha.
UPDATE III: Just finished watching the final debate, which was held at UMass-Boston and moderated by David Gergen. Checking back in with Brown’s campaign, we can report that Brown has now raised $918,000 and counting today. Can he raise $1 million in one day? Seems like a good bet.
Here’s Kathryn’s take on the debate, from the Corner:
The final debate in the Massachusetts Senate special election just ended. They did manage to interrupt David Gergen’s (he was moderator) multiple thanks to the Kennedys for their public service to have a bit of a debate, albeit with an unbalanced distribution of questions and the distraction of the third-party non-Kennedy Kennedy. Perhaps most interesting is that Brown did not run with the “I’ll stop Obamacare” idea but vowed to work to repeal it as soon as he gets there. Without spelling it out, he seemed to be saying: “Democrats will make sure I can’t stop Obamacare.”
UPDATE IV: As of 9:45 p.m., Brown has raised $1,012,000 in one day. That’s double the target he set for himself this morning.