Warren Opponent Drops Out of Senate Race

Boston lawyer Jim C. King announced on Wednesday afternoon that he would bow out of the contest for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, ending a campaign that struggled from its start to mount any serious challenge to frontrunner Elizabeth Warren.

King’s withdrawal leaves Harvard Law School professor Warren and immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco as the only two remaining Democrats vying to represent their party against Republican incumbent Scott Brown in November. Warren has been considered by most political analysts to be the clear frontrunner in the Democratic race since she entered it last fall.

King’s campaign released a statement yesterday afternoon that said after much thought, King had decided his campaign was no longer benefiting his party or the Massachusetts electorate.

“[T]he review has also made clear that the most effective way to achieve our goals has changed,” King wrote in the statement. “Now, we need to give Elizabeth Warren our support to beat Scott Brown in November.”

In a statement, Warren responded to King’s announcement and ongoing support.

“Jim brought a great deal of integrity and experience to his campaign and I greatly appreciate his support,” she wrote.

King’s candidacy drew very little interest or support from Democratic party leadership or support. His campaign has raised just over $60,000 in 2011. When Warren entered the fray and raked in millions, Democratic political analysts counted King as good as done.

“Only a dog could hear the sound of his campaign,” Democratic consultant Daniel B. Payne wrote in an email.

With the party convention only 10 weeks away, analysts said it was unlikely King could have earned the endorsement of the 15 percent of delegates necessary to make it onto the primary ballot in September.

“Jim King is a great lawyer and a good guy, but he wasn’t going to get on the ballet,” said former Boston City Councillor Lawrence S. DiCara ’71.

A long-time Democrat who often notes his affiliation with the Kennedy family, King said he was always more focused on the party’s success than his own.

“I’m a competitive person. And I think that the Democratic Party in Massachusetts is much better off if we have a competitive primary, and we have much better chance of beating Scott Brown if we have that competitive primary,” King told The Crimson in January. “We need competition, not a coronation.”

Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh echoed this sentiment.

“Jim’s contribution to the debate about replacing Scott Brown is a perfect example of how contested primaries are good for the Massachusetts Democratic Party and good for the Commonwealth,” Walsh said in a statement.

DeFranco—who entered the race in March 2011 and has garnered more support than King—made clear as recently as this week that she will not be forfeiting to Warren any time soon.

Still, analysts said DeFranco will likely have difficult winning support at the convention, since party delegates will want to avoid a contested primary.

“The delegates want to win, they want a clear shot in November, and they don’t want Elizabeth to spend any money or any time on the primary,” DiCara said.

—Staff writer Nicholas P. Fandos can be reached at nicholasfandos@college.harvard.edu.

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