It looks like Massachusetts Attorney-General Martha Coakley has a sizable lead in the race to replace Ted Kennedy in the Senate. Among other things, this no doubt reflects the fact that she has the advantage of statewide name recognition and having run a statewide campaign for AG. Of course the flipside of that is that she has relatively little record on issues of national significance—before she was the state’s Attorney-General, she was a District Attorney and obviously the job of a prosecutor bears relatively little resemblance to the job of a United States Senator.
By contrast, her main rival, MA-8 congressman Mike Capuano, has a ten year record on national issues. Basically it’s a record of being really, really liberal. He’s member 18.5 in the 111th House, he was 30.5 in the 110th House, 40.5 in the 109th, 10 in the 108th, and 8 in the 107th—firmly on the left side of the Democratic caucus. He’s the former mayor of Somerville, a dense walkable urban area, who likes to talk about mass transit, he’s pushing from the left on Afghanistan and Iraq, he favors single payer health care but says he won’t “let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
In other words, to those who care to look it up he’s a known quantity and very much a progressive. I hope Coakley’s greater name recognition and front-runner status won’t let her coast into the senate without being made to address these kinds of issues in some detail.