POLITICS
03/19/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Brown Takes Lead; Campaign Turns Ugly; Rape Remark Leveled At Coakley (VIDEO)

One-time longshot Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown holds a narrow but significant five-point lead in the final Massachusetts poll, just days before the critical election will be held.

The state senator is favored by 51 percent of Massachusetts voters, compared to 46 percent who support Attorney General Martha Coakley's candidacy, according to a poll commissioned by the firm Public Policy Polling and released Sunday night. The advantage is within the margin of error.

Brown's late-stage lead caps a remarkable electoral turnaround for the Massachusetts Republican -- who many thought would be crushed under the heavy weight of the state's Democratic machinery.

"He got the nomination because every Republican assumed it was a lost cause," said one seasoned Democratic politician in the state. "They were throwing the nomination on the butcher block. And who was left: Scott Brown."

And yet, as Election Day approaches (and Brown's lead steadies) the campaign itself has taken an angry turn. On Sunday, both campaigns accused the other of running races that were based on deceiving of voters. President Barack Obama, stumping on Coakley's behalf, laid into Brown (in a somewhat sneering fashion) on his policy positions and political image.

"Now, I've heard about some of the ads that Martha's opponent is running. He's driving his truck around the commonwealth, and he says that he gets you, that he fights for you, that he'll be an independent voice," said Obama. "And I don't know him, he may be a perfectly nice guy. I don't know his record, but I don't know whether he's been fighting for you up until now."

The most jarring moment, however, came during a rally Brown held with a cadre of famous Massachusetts athletes in which one attendee called for Coakley to have a "curling iron" shoved "up her butt."

The reference was to an assault case that Coakley's office oversaw, in which she was late to press charges against a man who had raped a toddler (Coakley later won grand jury indictments charging rape and assault and battery).

Democratic Party officials were quick to jump on reports of the comment as evidence of "bullying tactics" by Brown himself. Usually, tying a candidate to the angry screams of his or her crowd can be a difficult proposition. But on Sunday night, video emerged that seemed to show the state senator acknowledging the curling iron remark as it transpired. Hotline On Call was the first to post the footage but the Huffington Post obtained it separately as well.