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Pelosi to Endorse Capuano in Massachusetts Senate Race

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will endorse Rep. Mike Capuano (D) on Friday in the Massachusetts Senate special election — throwing her support to a fellow colleague over the EMILY’s List-backed frontrunner in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D). “Whether taking on the CEOs of the financial services industry, supporting marriage equality, or voting against the Iraq War because he didn’t believe Bush Administration made the case to take military action, Mike Capuano has a proven record of standing up for progressive values and what he believes is right,— Pelosi said in a statement. “Mike’s proven record of accomplishment in the House is clear evidence that he will be an outstanding advocate for the people of Massachusetts in the tradition of the late Senator Kennedy.—The formal endorsement will come Friday morning at a news conference in Boston. Capuano is the only Member in the race, and he has already received the endorsements of five out of the nine other members of the all-Democratic Massachusetts House delegation. Kitty Dukakis, wife of former governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, also voiced her support for Capuano earlier this week.However, the six-term Boston-area Congressman continues to trail well behind state Attorney General Martha Coakley, who remains the clear leader in the Democratic field in the Dec. 8 Senate special election primary. A Suffolk University poll released Thursday showed Coakley with a double-digit lead over her Democratic opponents. She led with 44 percent to 17 percent for Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca, 16 percent for Capuano and 3 percent for Alan Khazei, co-founder of the national community service program City Year. Twenty percent of voters surveyed were undecided.The poll was released as the Democratic contenders in the special election to succeed Kennedy squared off Thursday morning in a radio debate. Pagliuca made the biggest splash during the debate by saying that he supports a military draft, then promptly backing away from his statement. In a release, he said he “misunderstood— a question about reinstating the military draft. “I incorrectly interpreted the question to be asking if I would support a mandatory draft in the event we needed additional troops and my answer was yes,— he said. “I now realize that was not the question posed to me, and I want to be clear that I do not support reinstating the military draft at this time.—The four candidates also continued to spar over health care and how they would have voted on the overhaul bill that passed the House on Saturday. Capuano has gone hard after Coakley for saying she would have considered opposing the House bill because of the anti-abortion language it included.In a statement released Tuesday, Capuano said he and other Democrats who favor abortion rights “moved the bill forward because it contained the public option provision so important to guaranteeing that real health care reform takes place this year. If Martha Coakley had her way the U.S. Senate wouldn’t even be considering expanding health care to cover 36 million more Americans.—Pagliuca, who has been spending millions of his own dollars to blanket the airwaves with campaign ads, launched a radio ad going after both Coakley and Capuano for their stances on the health care bill. In the ad, Pagliuca says the legislation offers a “historic opportunity’’ to “provide health care to over 30 million Americans who don’t have it, and to help lower spiraling health care costs.’’ But, he says, “Two of my opponents for the US Senate are putting this landmark legislation at risk’’ because of their concerns about the anti-abortion provisions.Both Capuano and Pagliuca have been stepping up their attacks against Coakley in recent weeks, and all the Democratic contenders been pushing for more televised debates before the Dec. 8 primary, hoping to shift the dynamics of the race.But Coakley’s campaign is resisting, saying she is prepared to participate in just one more debate. All four candidates attended a debate at the John F. Kennedy Library on Oct. 26 that was aired on television in the Boston area. They have also engaged in a series of non-televised forums.Whoever wins the Democratic primary on Dec. 8 will be a strong favorite to win the Jan. 19 general election, given the state’s heavy Democratic lean. State Sen. Scott Brown is expected to win the Republican nomination with little opposition.The winner of the general election will succeed interim Sen. Paul Kirk, a former Democratic National Committee chairman who was appointed by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick after Kennedy died of cancer in August.

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