Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) said Tuesday that Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts has been “way overblown.”
Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), disputed the assertion that voters in Massachusetts’ are very liberal.
“This whole notion that it’s a liberal state -- how many Republicans do I have to mention who got elected up there?” Kennedy said, citing Republican governors such as Mitt Romney, Paul Cellucci and William Weld.
Like other Democrats, Kennedy criticized Martha Coakley, who lost to Brown by four percentage points.
“It was only four points, and frankly, given the campaign that was run up there, he should have won by a lot more. It was a testament to where people were politically that she got the votes she did. She was not a good candidate, as almost everyone knows.”
The eight-term congressman dismissed suggestions that the loss of his father’s Senate seat is the death knell for healthcare reform and said the media is exaggerating the election’s impact.
“This wasn’t about healthcare,” he said. “This was about Massachusetts not wanting to subsidize anybody else’s healthcare. They’ve got [universal coverage]. So people have been taking all kinds of messages that universally can’t be drawn.”
Asked what Sen. Kennedy would think of last month’s election, Kennedy said his father would have first worked to dispel any contention that the seat belonged to him.
“It’s not his seat. It’s Massachusetts’ seat,” Kennedy said. “He had to run every six years like everyone else, and he did a great job at minding the store — staying close to home, playing local politics the way it should be played, and he went all over that state all the time.
“You know what, nothing can be taken for granted in politics. You’ve got to work it. That’s what he’d be thinking. And it’s just a good example that the people have the final say. He’d like that.”
Kennedy met with Brown on Jan. 21 in his House office, in a meeting in which Kennedy gave Brown a copy of his father's memoirs, "True Compass," published last October. Brown told reporters he was "stepping into shoes which are very, very big."