It's the last place Democrats would expect to see as a battleground state. But the fight for the Massachusetts Senate seat occupied by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy for 46 years is heating up, and President Obama is in the middle of it all.
The names on the ballot are Democrat Martha Coakley, 56, and Republican Scott Brown, 50. But the stakes are high not just for the candidates, but also for the president and Democrats around the country.
If the special election to be held Tuesday goes to Brown, Senate Democrats will lose the 60-seat majority they currently enjoy and that they need to pass a health care bill and other Democratic items.
Coakley today unveiled a new TV ad featuring Obama stumping for her on Sunday in Boston.
"Every vote matters, every voice matters. We need you on Tuesday," Obama is shown saying at the rally Sunday, where, in a scramble to save Kennedy's seat, he made a last-minute stump speech for Coakley and attempted to rile up the Democratic base that dominates the state.
"If you were fired up in the last election, I need you more fired up in this election! I need you, I need you!" Obama told the crowd, estimated to be around 1,100.
"Where we don't want to go is backwards towards the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. We have had one year to make up for eight. It hasn't been quick, it hasn't been easy, but we're beginning to deliver on the change you voted for," the president said. "A lot of these measures are going to rest on one vote in the U.S. senate."
While the president tried to rally the crowd, he attempted to distance himself from the election, even though he seemingly was well informed about it. Obama also acknowledged voter anger and frustration, which Brown has tapped into in his campaign.
But Obama steered clear of the topic of health care overhaul, which has become the focal point of this high-profile race.
Brown, a lawyer and former model, has vowed to vote against health care overhaul if he is elected.
"As the 41st senator I can at least allow them to, you know, maybe look at things a little differently," Brown told ABC News in an interview.
If Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley loses, as polls indicate she might, Democrats want to be in a position to pass a bill through the Senate before Brown is sworn in, which wouldn't leave Democrats much time to hash out a compromise between the House and Senate bills.
Sources say that in case of a Democratic loss, the White House would want the House to vote directly on the bill Senate passed on Christmas Eve. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has told White House officials they don't have enough votes to pass that legislation, but administration officials argue that if it's not the Senate bill, there may not be any health care overhaul.
Another idea House Democrats are discussing assuming Brown wins is having Senate Democrats force the bill through by bypassing normal Senate rules and passing the legislation through reconciliation, which requires only 50 votes. That would allow some moderates to peel away.
"There's no question that the president's domestic agenda hangs in the balance," said Democratic commentator Donna Brazile.