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Massachusetts Senate Race: Thinking the Unthinkable

GOP strategists are already compiling a list of possible retirees if Brown wins, including Reps. John Spratt (S.C.), Allen Boyd (Fla.) and Jim Matheson (Utah) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.).

A victory by the Republican in the special election could dissuade some Democratic incumbents from investing 10 months in a re-election bid that suddenly would seem dramatically less likely of success.

A strong Brown showing could also lead to another round of GOP recruiting successes, as candidates who have been on the fence, or initially rejected appeals to run, decide that a Republican wave is building for November and they better get on it.

And third, Brown’s showing, if it is as good as current evidence suggests, could foreshadow a surge in national GOP fundraising.

Brown’s own fundraising during the last week has been nothing short of amazing. He raised $4.5 million on the Internet over three days early in the week, giving him plenty of resources in the final week of the campaign.

If Brown can raise money like that, other Republicans should be able to do so if they can make their case to the party faithful. That’s a potentially dramatic development for House and Senate Republican campaign committees, who trail their Democratic counterparts and would love to see their nominees raise more campaign cash.

Finally, a strong Brown showing, and especially a Republican victory, will add to the increasingly dominant narrative about the cycle, which holds that Democrats are headed for defeat during the midterms. This could put Democrats further on the defensive and spell the end to much of the president’s ambitious agenda for the rest of 2010.

If you are looking for an analogy for a Republican victory in Massachusetts, the best one for Democrats may well be the stock market crash of 1929. Come Tuesday night, you could have Democrats jumping out windows and off roofs ...

Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

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