BOSTON - Republican Scott Brown shocked the nation and turned Massachusetts politics on its head.
But how did he do it?
A Suffolk University poll taken Nov. 8 showed Democratic candidate Martha Coakley leading by 31 points -- a staggering advantage most political observers believed could not be surmounted by Brown, one of just five Republicans in the Massachusetts state Senate.
But a series of factors conspired to allow Brown to do what seemed impossible in November, and his luck began to change right after the state's Democratic primary that month, when Coakley made what many now view as an unwise decision to take a break from campaigning.
Brown, on the other hand, hit the ground running, going door to door in working-class neighborhoods across the commonwealth in his old pickup truck, delivering a populist message that resonated with people suffering under the state's sour economy. Brown talked about job creation, the deficit and overspending in Washington. And he pledged to put the brakes on the unpopular Democratic plan to reform health care.
"He's been going door to door, town to town," said Brown backer Shawn Littlehale, of Norwell. "Martha Coakley has been hiding."
Brown also put out a series of well-received ads, including one in which he seemed to appear in a campaign ad produced by John F. Kennedy when he ran for the same seat in the 1950s and promised a tax cut. Brown also used social media like Facebook, Twitter and text messages to supporters to get voters to the polls and for a massive rally to counter a Sunday appearance by President Obama.
While Brown capitalized on Coakley blunders that became almost too numerous to count, it was his substance and style that eventually won over voters, even in the face of an onslaught of negative campaign ads put forward by the Democratic National Committee.
"Brown focused the discussion on the issues that really matter in Massachusetts," Ron Kaufman, former adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, told The Examiner. "And it connected with the voters in a big way."
Voters said that aside from his political stance, they liked Brown's low-key, authentic style, which contrasted to what many perceived to be an aloof and out-of-touch Coakley.
His appeal was so great, even Coakley volunteers were swayed by him, including phone bank worker Carol Caryl, 70.
"He has a certain amount of charisma, driving that truck," Caryl said.