Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, whose surprise win in the race to fill the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat created the sonic boom heard all the way to Washington, was visiting the nation's capital Thursday to pay a round of courtesy calls on his new colleagues.
Two days after his win cost President Barack Obama his filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate, Brown was making his first trip to the institution he reordered and the city he set abuzz after Tuesday's upset election.
The timing of his swearing-in remained in question. While Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin sent a letter to the Senate clerk Wednesday declaring Brown the unofficial winner of the seat, senators had to decide whether they were going to waive a waiting period for absentee ballot arrivals.
Brown was meeting first with his highest-profile backer, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. Next up was his new state partner, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and then Sen. Paul G. Kirk Jr., who has been holding Kennedy's seat on an interim basis since shortly after Kennedy's death from brain cancer in August.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was meeting with Brown before a scheduled lunch with a broader group of colleagues.
There was almost a "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"-like quality about Brown as he reflected on his win. Not only did he beat a better-known rival, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, but he did so in one of the most Democratic states in the country and in a battle over the seat Kennedy held for nearly a half-century.
The victory will give the Republicans the 41st Senate vote they need to sustain a filibuster, while it will cost Obama the supermajority he had been counting on to power through his health care overhaul and the remainder of his midterm agenda.
"If you were to tell me growing up that a guy whose mom was on welfare and parents had some marital troubles, and I had some issues growing up, that a guy from Wrentham would be here standing before you right now and going to Washington, D.C., are you kidding me?" Brown said at a postelection news conference.
After his day trip to Washington, Brown was returning to Massachusetts to contemplate when to resign his state Senate seat and how to cope with the new demands of being a capital commuter.
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