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In stunning upset, Brown tops Coakley for Senate seat

By Matt Viser and Andrea Estes
Globe Staff / January 19, 2010

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Republican Scott Brown tonight pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Massachusetts political history, defeating Democrat Martha Coakley to become the state’s next United States senator and potentially derailing President Obama’s hopes for a health care overhaul.

The victory caps a dramatic surge in recent days as Brown, a state lawmaker from Wrentham once thought to have little chance of beating a popular attorney general, roared ahead of Coakley to become the first Republican senator elected from Massachusetts since 1972.

With 73 percent of precincts reporting, Brown had 53 percent and Coakley had 46 percent.

In a race that became the center of national attention, Brown’s win is widely seen as a vote against the president’s agenda from one of the most reliably Democratic states. And in a particularly ironic twist, Brown, in succeeding Edward M. Kennedy -- the late liberal lion who deemed health care “the cause of my life’’ -- may well be the 41st vote to prevent the Democratic-led plan from moving forward.