Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley won the Democratic US Senate primary for the special election to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat yesterday. Coakley is widely expected to win the special election on January 19 against state Senator Scott Brown, the Republican nominee. According to the Boston Globe, Massachusetts has not elected a Republican US Senator since 1972.
Coakley is currently the only woman elected to statewide office in Massachusetts and, if elected, would be the first woman to represent the state in the US Senate. Currently, there are 17 women US Senators. Coakley served as Middlesex District Attorney before being elected attorney general in 2006.
Coakley is endorsed by the Feminist Majority, NOW, Planned Parenthood Massachusetts, Emily’s List, and a host of other progressive organizations. She is a strong leader with a feminist track record on reproductive rights, LGBT equality, and economic fairness. In the Massachusetts race, she was the only candidate to stand up for reproductive rights during ongoing national health reform debate. Coakley has also filed landmark litigation challenging the Defense of Marriage Act and is in support of same sex marriage. As a prosecutor, she was a pioneer in creating programs to protect survivors of domestic violence.