Could Scott Brown Defeat Martha Coakley in Massachusetts Senate Battle?

The Massachusetts race for the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat is intensifying, in the wake of some polls suggesting the race may be closer than Democrats anticipated.

GOP candidate Scott Brown, who faces off against Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley in a Jan. 19 special election, held a "money bomb" online event on Monday on the Web site, raising more than $1.3 million over the course of the day. Brown's effort received a boost from Minnesota's Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who promoted the online fundraising event, the Hill reports.

The Coakley campaign has revved up its efforts to counter any momentum Brown may have. They launched a negative ad Monday asking, "Who is Scott Brown really? A Republican in lockstep with Washington Republicans." Coakley reinforced her message Monday night in a debate against Brown that he would support a return to Bush-era economic policies, the Boston Globe reports.

The Democratic establishment has also signaled that Coakley may have to put up more of a fight: The Democratic National Committee has sent its national press secretary, Hari Sevugan, to Boston to help the campaign, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has sent media consultant Michael Meehan to help.

Various polls in the state have had mixed results, a concerning sign for Democrats in a solidly blue state. A Boston Globe poll gave Coakley a solid 15-point lead, and recent internal Democratic polling also gave Coakely a double-digit lead. However, Public Policy Polling put Brown ahead by one point, and a recent Rasmussen poll put Coakley ahead by a nine-point margin.

In the week up to the election, Brown could benefit from some high-profile endorsements. The State Police Association of Massachusetts endorsed the Republican Monday, and the Boston Herald endorsed him in an editorial today.

"Sometimes one vote can make a difference," the Herald editorial staff wrote, "especially if it's one vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate."

Indeed, Democrats are ratcheting up efforts to support Coakley for exactly that reason: If Brown wins next week, he could foil Democrats' plans to pass their health care bill in the Senate with their 60-vote majority.

DNC group Organizing for America sent an e-mail signed by President Obama to its supporters, asking for help in the Coakley campaign, and former President Bill Clinton will campaign for her in Boston this Friday.

Meanwhile, Brown responded to Coakley's negative ad with an ad of his own, in which he criticizes the negative spot against him and says, "The old way of doing things won't work anymore."