Ill. politicians react to Mass. Senate upset

January 21, 2010 10:27:38 AM PST
Republican Scott Brown is still savoring his stunning Massachusetts Senate victory that shook the balance of power on Capitol Hill. Wednesday, he said his election sent a "very powerful message" that voters are weary of Washington backroom deals. And, if Massachusetts could send a Republican to the Senate, could Illinois do the same?

Illinois Republicans are certainly hoping that Scott Brown's victory will spillover over to key victories in Illinois. Brown takes over the seat held for decades by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Many say Brown's win is likely to derail President Obama's agenda, which includes health care reform.

Brown will soon be Massachusetts first Republican senator in 32 years. The little-known state senator's victory has sent shock waves well outside of his New England state.

"We think Illinois is next," said Pat Brady, Illinois Republican party chairman. "We anticipate a big victory in November."

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady believes, if a heavily Democratic state like Massachusetts can send a Republican to the senate, so can Illinois. Brady is confident not only will Mark Kirk win, but the GOP will take the governor's office back as well.

"The thing is that we still have a lot of work to do. We have to talk about issues. We have to be unified. We will take our message to the voters in November," Brady said.

Political experts say being unified is not enough. Political consultant Don Rose says Scott Brown's win should be a lesson for Democrats and Republicans that no seat is safe no matter what the poll numbers say.

"No matter how good you are, you've got to have your guard up, you've got to be punching all the time and take nothing for granted," said Rose.

Rose said, letting their guard down is exactly what Democrats have done. One year ago, Barack Obama took office not only with hope but with a Democratic majority in the Congress. Losing the seat in Massachusetts means losing a crucial 60th vote in the Senate.

"There is no question that Obama's life has just becoming complicated to the 10th degree," said Rose.

Many Republicans predict the death of the health care bill. Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin is trying to be optimistic.

"I would engage and invite my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, if they truly want to govern, if they truly want to work with us, to please step forward," Durbin said.

Scott Brown's victory gives Republicans 41 votes in the 100-member Senate, which would derail the Democrats' ability to stop filibusters.

Wednesday is the first anniversary of President Obama's presidency. His spokesperson Robert Gibbs says Obama will address the Massachusetts results and what they mean in his State of the Union address next week.