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Republican Scott Brown was elected to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate in 2010.
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However, the incident wasn't enough to derail Brown's political rise to prominence. While in the state senate, he voted against the repeal of the state law that barred out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts and later, voted for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and opposed the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. During his career in the state legislator he generally supported more conservative causes,
but he had once been a backer of Roe v. Wade until he adopted a pro-life stance.
During his tenure as state senator, he made his mark as a strong advocate for veterans' affairs. As a member of the Veterans' and Federal Affairs committee, he authored a 2007 law that put a check-box on state income tax forms to indicate whether the individual had served in Iraq or Afghanistan. The motion helped the state to notify veterans of available services and benefits.
In September 2009, Scott Brown announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat that had become vacant upon the death of Ted Kennedy, proclaiming he would fulfill Massachusetts' need for an "independent thinker." The press described him as a candidate who didn't fall neatly into party lines and characterized him as "mainstream." In the general election, Brown faced Democratic nominee Attorney General Martha Coakley and independent Joseph L. Kennedy (no relation to the Kennedy family). Initially, Brown faced overwhelming odds, being a relative unknown and a Republican in a very Democratic state. But while Democrats far outnumber Republicans in Massachusetts, independents outnumber both parties combined. Brown capitalized on his reputation as a moderate, and gained an increasing amount of support at election time.
On election night, January 19, 2010, Scott Brown won the election by a 52 to 47 percent margin. He performed well in Republican strongholds, and kept rival Coakley's margins down in many Democratic precincts. He was able to garner independent voters who had supported Democrats in the past were frustrated with recent events in Washington over high unemployment, Wall Street bailouts, exploding federal budget deficits and partisan wrangling over health care.
Of greater importance was the fact that a Republican had taken the senate seat a Democrat had held for more than 50 years. His victory also stripped Democrats of the 60-seat super-majority it held in the Senate, which it needed to overcome Republican filibusters. Since his swearing into office, Senator Scott Brown has kept a low profile whenever possible. In one of his first initiatives as a senator, Brown became one of five Republicans to vote for the Democrat-sponsored "jobs bill", helping to pass the motion 70 to 28.
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