4. The Democratic candidate has not run a strong campaign. Coakley's team seems to have thought the demographics in Massachusetts would be enough to assure her the win. Coakley did not perform well in the debates and has made a number of gaffes during the campaign.
5. Senior members of the Democratic Party were slow to recognize the danger. The White House, the DNC and the Massachusetts Democratic Party didn't realize this was a real race until polls showed the race within the margin of error.
This race will be won or lost on turnout, specifically that of Democrats. If Massachusetts Democrats come out and vote on Tuesday, January 19, Brown and the Republicans don't have a chance. Most experts are banking on the idea that this will not happen.
Implications for Health Care Reform
Some interesting scenarios come into play if Coakley loses the race. At first glance, it would seem that this would deal a death blow to reform efforts as this would mean Democrats would only have potentially 59 votes in the senate and could not overcome a filibuster if all Republicans would unite behind one. However, we would still see a passage of Health Care Reform if Coakley loses.