Warren Decisively Ousts Brown In Senate
Democrats Reclaim MA Senate Seat From Brown
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Elizabeth Warren won a historic victory over incumbent Senator Scott Brown on Tuesday, signifying a return to liberalism and the maintenance of the Democratic Party’s majority in the United States Senate. Warren, 63, will become the first woman to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate. A Harvard law professor and former Obama Administration adviser, Warren is best characterized by her consumer advocacy, particularly in the financial services industry, and is recognized for assisting in the establishment of a consumer watchdog agency following the Wall Street meltdown.
Warren’s victory reignites the liberal spirit sparked by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, whose 46-year career in the Senate was succeeded by Brown, who overcame Attorney General Martha Coakley in the special election of 2010. Brown’s tenure in the U.S. Senate, though brief, had altered the Obama Administration’s agenda due to the augmented ability of Republicans to uphold bills in the Senate. In this way, Warren’s win also marks a comeback for the Democratic Party.
Warren led Brown 54 percent to 46 percent, with 91 percent of precincts reporting. With support from both liberal suburbs and the state’s major cities, including Worcester, Springfield, Fall River, New Bedford, and Boston, Warren was able to build her lead in the closely contested race. Brown was unable to compensate with the Republican regions of Merrimack Valley, Blackstone Valley, the South Shore, and northern Worcester County. Organized labor was also on the side of Warren, who gained a 61 percent victory among union members, according to an AFL-CIO poll taken Tuesday.
At the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel in Boston, Warren thanked the cheering crowd before her, proudly proclaiming, “This is your night. This is your victory.”
Republicans rested on Brown’s popularity and reputation as a liberal Republican for a victory, but came up short. Brown spent the latter part of his campaign playing up a “people over party” ideal, stressing individual character over partisan ideology in a pitch that took into account Massachusetts’ general negative attitude toward the national GOP. As of Oct. 30, Brown had not crossed the 48 percent mark in any polls since the middle of September, with three of the four latest polls showing Warren over 50 percent. Brown humbly conceded defeat and subdued dissatisfied supporters with the affirmation, “She won it fair and square, folks.”
Adding to the historical precedent set by Warren was the record $75 million spent between the two candidates on their campaigns, deeming the race the most expensive political contest in Massachusetts history. In a pact made to prevent the outside money of super PACs from endorsing the candidates through campaign ads, Brown and Warren agreed to stand behind their own attacks against one another in television ads. Both candidates complied with the agreement through the end of the campaign, with Brown remarking to The Boston Globe, “Can you imagine another $30 million of negative ads on the air?”
Warren, who entered the Massachusetts political scene about a year ago and quickly created a following with her development of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will bring to Washington her critical stance on Wall Street, and with it, the possibility of further regulatory efforts aimed at the financial sector. These criticisms and the push for more regulation won the heart of liberals, and helped win the vote for Warren.
Secretary of State William Galvin predicted that 3 million to 3.2 million Massachusetts voters came out to cast ballots on Tuesday, and faced unprecedented long lines. Even after the polls closed at 8 p.m., people were still waiting in line to vote. Although it is typical to expect crowds at peak times before and after work, many voters placed the blame on lack of election workers and the length of the three ballot questions, which totaled to 1,800 words. Brown waited in line with his family Tuesday morning to vote at Wrentham Middle School, while Warren voted at the Graham Parks School in Cambridge alongside her husband and several family members.