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Alan A. Khazei ’83 dropped out of the Massachusetts Senate race Thursday, citing difficulty raising funds in a field dominated by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren.
“She has struck a chord, no doubt about it,” Khazei said of Warren to the Boston Globe. “It’s definitely affected my position. So fundraising has been tougher, and in terms of attention ... It’s challenging. Things have definitely shifted.”
Khazei’s departure all but guarantees that Warren will be the Democrat to challenge Sen. Scott Brown next fall. And, if fundraising and polling are any indication, Warren will put up a strong fight against the incumbent Republican. Warren raised more money than any other Senate candidate in the nation during the third quarter, bringing in a total of over $3.15 million, dwarfing Brown’s $1.55 million. Polls conducted earlier this month show that Warren trails Brown by five points or less.
In polls of the Democratic primary, however, Warren leads other candidates by 30 points or more. Still, many—including Warren—expressed shock when Khazei quit the race. Khazei vowed three weeks ago to fight Warren until the end—pointing to the over $365,000 his campaign raised in the second quarter. But in October, “the money dried up,” according to spokesperson Scott Ferson.
“At some point, we were not going to be able to sustain the campaign,” Ferson said.
In addition to fundraising difficulties, Ferson said that Khazei, after positioning himself as a candidate of the people and against establishment Washington, had trouble gaining support in a field opposite Warren, who is known nationally as a fierce advocate for the middle class.
Announcing the end of his campaign on Thursday, Khazei slammed Brown but declined to endorse his Democratic rival.
“I’ve said throughout this campaign that Scott Brown does not deserve to be re-elected because he has failed to lead when our country is crying out for game-changing leadership. I don’t want to do anything that could prevent the defeat of Scott Brown in 2012,” Khazei said at a press conference on Thursday.
Warren, who said she was surprised that Khazei quit the race, praised his many years of public service in a statement released after the announcement.
“He has set the standard as a leader who listens and gets results with innovative ideas and new approaches,” Warren said.
Like Warren, Khazei has extensive connections to Harvard. Khazei, who is an alumnus of both the College and the Law School, founded the service organization City Year while living as a tutor in Currier House. In 2006, Khazei returned to campus as an IOP fellow.
Khazei is not the first to quit because of trouble raising money. Newton Mayor Setti D. Warren and activist Bob K. Massie also ended their campaigns due to lack of funds.
This is the second time that Khazei has unsuccessfully run for the Senate. Two years ago, Khazei ran in the special election to fill the vacated seat of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy ’54-’56 but lost in the Democratic primary to Martha M. Coakley. Khazei was the only candidate from that race to return as a challenger to Brown.
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