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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a major power play today to force Massachusetts’ Republican Senator Scott Brown to attend tonight’s scheduled debate against his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. Brown, who is locked in a tight battle to hold on to his Senate seat, told the Boston Globe this afternoon that he might skip the debate in order to stay in Washington for Senate votes.
The suggestion irked Democrats, who accused Republicans of trying to slow down today’s Senate votes to give Brown an excuse to miss the debate.
That was when Reid stepped in.
“I’m so sorry. We have no more votes today,” Reid said on the Senate floor, according to The Hill. “It’s obvious to me what’s going on. I’ve been to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious there is a big stall taking place. One of the senators who doesn’t want to debate tonight won’t be in [a] debate. Well, he can’t use the Senate as an excuse. There will be no more votes today.”
The move apparently worked. The Washington Post reports that Brown is en route to Boston now for the debate, which is scheduled to air on WBZ-TV at 7 p.m.
Reid’s power play underscores the importance of the Massachusetts race to the 2012 battle for control of the Senate. With 23 Democrats up for re-election, compared to just 10 Republicans, the Bay State represents one of the Democratic Party’s best shots at taking back a Republican seat.
Recent polls show Warren leading Brown by up to six points.
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