Warren Wins Senate Seat

Elizabeth Warren and her husband, Bruce Warren, wave to supporters after her victory speech Tuesday night. (Photo by Cat Ring/BU News Service)

By Chelsea Sheasley
Boston University News Service

BOSTON – Democrat Elizabeth Warren defeated incumbent Sen. Scott Brown Tuesday night in a historic race that will send a woman senator from Massachusetts to Washington following  the most expensive Senate election in state history.

“This victory belongs to you. For every family that has been chipped at, squeezed and hammered, we’re going to fight for a level playing field,” Warren told supporters at her victory party at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel in downtown Boston.

Hundreds of supporters thronged the hotel ballroom, cheering wildly as Warren took the stage around 10:45 p.m. to proclaim victory after Scott Brown gave a concession speech at a nearby hotel.

Warren pledged her support for small business owners, students and women, themes she championed on the campaign trail.

“To all the small business owners who are tired of a system rigged against them. We’re going to hold the big guns accountable,” she said. “To all the women across Massachusetts who are working their tails off, you better believe we’re going to fight for equal pay for equal work.”

Warren faced an uphill fight with Brown, who shocked the nation by winning a special election two years ago to fill Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat after his death. Brown maintained high levels of popular support during his two years in office, despite being a Republican in a heavily Democratic state.

Both candidates were prolific fundraisers. In the final three months before the election Warren raised more money than any other Senate candidate in the country, pulling in $12.1 million. Brown was not far behind: he raised the second-highest amount in the nation at $7.5 million.

In total, Warren raised $38.8 million in political donations as of the latest financial report in mid-October. Brown raised $24.3 million.

Brown, who touted his bipartisanship, was likely hurt by the strong support Massachusetts voters showed for President Obama. Voters broke for Obama by 60 percent to Romney’s 40 percent.

With 88 percent of the Massachusetts vote counted, Warren led 54 to 46 percent.

Three of four polls in the final days before the election showed a slight edge to Warren. The last poll released Nov. 5 by UMass/Boston Herald showed Brown leading by one percentage point.

Warren’s political star began to rise after the financial crisis of 2008, when she served as a special assistant to President Barak Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to help create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was signed into law in July 2010.

Although Warren served as interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during its first year, Obama chose not to nominate her as permanent director after financial institutions and Republican members of Congress threatened to filibuster her nomination.

During the campaign, Brown seized upon a comment Warren made in an interview with the Huffington Post during that time that if she couldn’t create a strong consumer agency, “my second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.”

Warren, an expert in American bankruptcy law, will leave her job as a professor at Harvard Law School to join the 113th Congress on January 3.

Warren took advantage of her victory speech to revamp a phrase that had hurt her and President Obama earlier in the campaign:

“Let me be clear. I didn’t build that, you built that,” she said to wild cheers of the crowd. “What everyone thought was impossible, you taught a scrappy first time candidate how to get into the ring and win.”

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