BOSTON — Scott Brown, a little-known Republican state senator, rode an old pickup truck and a growing sense of unease among independent voters to an extraordinary upset Tuesday night when he was elected to fill the Senate seat that was long held by Edward M. Kennedy in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts.
By a decisive margin, Mr. Brown defeated Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, who had been considered a prohibitive favorite to win just over a month ago after she easily won the Democratic primary.
With all precincts counted, Mr. Brown had 52 percent of the vote to Ms. Coakley’s 47 percent.
“Tonight the independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken,” Mr. Brown told his cheering supporters in a victory speech, standing in front of a backdrop that said “The People’s Seat.”
The election left Democrats in Congress scrambling to salvage a bill overhauling the nation’s health care system, which the late Mr. Kennedy had called “the cause of my life.” Mr. Brown has vowed to oppose the bill, and once he takes office the Democrats will no longer control the 60 votes in the Senate needed to overcome filibusters.
A supporter of Scott Brown waved a flag after the Senate election results were in.
ROBERT SPENCER / GETTY IMAGES
There were immediate signs that the bill had become imperiled. House members indicated they would not quickly pass the bill the Senate approved last month.
And after the results were announced, one centrist Democratic senator, Jim Webb of Virginia, called on Senate leaders to suspend any votes on the Democrats’ health care legislation until Mr. Brown is sworn into office. The election, he said, was a referendum on both health care and the integrity of the government process.
Beyond the bill, the election of a man supported by the Tea Party movement also represented an unexpected reproach by many voters to President Obama after his first year in office, and struck fear into the hearts of Democratic lawmakers, who are already worried about their prospects in the midterm elections later this year.
Mr. Brown was able to appeal to independents who were anxious about the economy and concerned about the direction taken by Democrats, now that they control both Beacon Hill and Washington. He rallied his supporters when he said, at the last debate, that he was not running for Mr. Kennedy’s seat but for “the people’s seat.”
That seat, held for nearly half a century by Mr. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate, will now be held for almost three full years by a Republican who has said he supports waterboarding as an interrogation technique for terrorism suspects, opposes a federal cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions and opposes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants unless they leave the country. It was a sharp swing of the pendulum, but even Democratic voters said they wanted the Obama administration to change direction.
די ניו יארק טיימס מערקט אן די קאמענטארען פון וואס דו רעדסט אבער איז בכלל נישט געוועהן די מדובר - ער האט געוואונען ווייל ער האט זיך ארויסגעשטעלט קעגן אבאמא קעיר.
I REALLY - DON’T - CARE, DO YOU?