Bill Clinton will campaign for embattled Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley as she tries to succeed Senator Edward Kennedy in the U.S. senate special election in the state. The election will be held January 19.

Two polls in the past week showed the race very close with her opponent, Republican candidate Scott Brown, leading in one by a point.

However, a Boston Globe poll on Sunday showed her with a fifteen-point lead, though she was only level with Brown among those most likely to vote.

Republicans are now throwing major money into the contest, once considered a shoo-in for Coakley, spending $400,000 in the past few weeks alone. Democrats are now counting by sending former president Bill Clinton to stump with Coakley on Friday of this week. The former president is still enormously popular in the state.

Meanwhile, Democratic insiders are highly critical of the lackluster campaign that Coakley has run in recent weeks, but there are signs that she is turning that around.

She appeared with Ted Kennedy's widow Viki last week, the first time the two have canvassed together. There was deep anger in the Kennedy camp against Coakley because she announced she was running while Senator Kennedy was still ill. A defeat for Coakley would be disastrous for Democrats, especially on their health care bill, which needs 60 votes to pass in the senate and now has that bare minimum.