Massachusetts Republicans are thinking the unthinkable: Putting one of their own into Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, CQ Politics reports. The stars would have to align perfectly—only 12% of the state's voters are registered Republicans—but strategists see hope in a combination of factors: The Democratic field will be crowded, 36% of state voters went for McCain, and 50% are independents. The trick is to "turn them out for this election," says one.
The vote is January 19, meaning candidates need to ramp up fundraising and outreach fast. GOP insiders agree that the likely contenders—former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, State Sen. Scott Brown, and former US Atty. Michael Sullivan—need to figure out who’s running to have a chance. "The party is best served by having a single candidate,” a strategist says. "Let the crowded race take place on the Democratic side.”