Chants of "Go Scott Go!" reverberated at Scott Brown headquarters Tuesday night as the newest Republican elected to the U.S. Senate gave a rousing acceptance speech.
"I bet they can hear this cheering all the way in Washington, D.C.!" Brown said, following his victory over Democrat Martha Coakley. "I hope they're paying close attention, because tonight the independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken."
Brown noted that on the campaign trail he had characterized the race as him against the machine. "I was wrong. I was wrong," he said to rousing applause. "It was all of us against the machine."
Brown announced that he spoke earlier in the evening with interim Sen. Paul Kirk, who was appointed to the Senate to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Brown said Kirk's work was now done, and put pressure on the Senate to accept his election immediately.
"As you know the people who cast the votes have now filled the office themselves, and I'm ready to go to Washington without delay!"
Soon the crowd was chanting "41! 41! 41!" It was an acknowledgement that Brown will be the 41st GOP senator, meaning Democrats no longer possess a supermajority in Congress. Any future legislation will have to overcome a Republican filibuster.
In his acceptance speech, Brown graciously acknowledged that Kennedy was "a tireless worker and a big-hearted public servant." He said "there's no replacing a man like that" but pledged to work tirelessly to "try to be a worthy successor to Senator Kennedy."
Reiterating the populist message that carried him to victory, Brown told the ebullient crowd: "Most of all I will remember that while the honor is mine, this Senate seat belongs to no one person, no one political party, and I've said before … this is the people's seat!"
Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia issued a statement late Tuesday evening calling for a suspension of all healthcare reform votes until Brown is seated.
“In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on healthcare reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process," Webb stated. "It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated."
Brown then held up a copy of the Boston Herald, hot off the presses. Its front page showed an image of Brown and the caption: He Did It!
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