Faced with fundraising difficulties and tough competition, Mayor of Newton Setti Warren announced Thursday that he will drop out of the race for the U.S. Senate. Warren’s announcement narrows the field to six Democratic candidates and leaves a clear path to the nomination for Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren.
“I got in to this race for one reason and one reason only—to beat Scott Brown,” Mr. Warren said at a press conference outside his home. “And I am getting out now for one reason and one reason only—because I no longer believe I have a clear path to victory in this race.”
Mr. Warren also referenced the “long financial and political odds” he has faced in his run for Senate on his campaign website. His concession came on the heels of a Public Policy Polling survey in which he received the support of only 1 percent of Massachusetts Democrats. And in the same poll Elizabeth Warren—who has emerged as a clear front runner among Democratic candidates since announcing her bid a week ago—received the support of 55 percent of Massachusetts Democratic primary voters.
City Year co-founder Alan A. Khazei ’83 was next runner up, earning 9 percent of voters’ support. Former candidate for lieutenant governor Tom Conroy received 7 percent, Marisa DeFranco and Bob Massie each received 2 percent, and Herb Robinson earned 1 percent.
In the matchup between Democratic candidates and Republican incumbent Scott Brown, Warren even overtook Brown in PPP’s survey, edging out Brown 46 to 44 percent. But Warren’s two-point lead falls within the poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error.
Elizabeth Warren released a statement Thursday praising Setti Warren.
“Setti and I have had some long conversations about what is happening to America’s families and what kind of changes we want to see,” she wrote. “Every time we’ve talked, I’ve been struck by his good heart and quick mind. Setti has served our country, our state and his community with great distinction and honor. He ran a positive and energetic campaign, focused on the importance of shared responsibility and a common purpose—a message that is important to all of us.”
Mr. Warren said that he was confident that the nominee from the remaining pool of Democrat contenders will defeat Brown.
“I am certain that one of these Democrats will emerge as our nominee and will beat Scott Brown in November 2012.”
Mr. Warren will continue to serve as mayor of Newton.
Khazei, who ran in the special election in 2010 but lost to Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley in the primary, represents the most significant challenge to Warren within the Democratic field, but he lacks the fundraising ability and the name recognition of Warren, who made a name for herself as a prominent advocate for consumer rights and Wall Street reform.
Brown won an upset victory in a special election in 2010 after the death of longtime Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy ’54-’56, beating Coakley. Brown remains a popular political figure in Massachusetts, but many observers say that the race between Warren and Brown may be hotly contested and that the race may represent the best chance for Democrats to pick up a seat in the Senate during an election cycle that is unlikely to favor the party.
—Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at email@example.com.