WASHINGTON — Newton Mayor Setti Warren has announced that he’s dropped out of the Massachusetts Senate race, citing a lack of financial resources and shift in the political dynamics of the race.
Warren conceded at a news conference outside his home Thursday that the entry into the race by consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren was a “huge” factor in his decision. The two are not related.
“Look, Elizabeth Warren has captured the imagination of Democrats nationally,” Warren told reporters. “Here in the state, she’s changed the dynamics of the race. It was clear to me that because of that that I was not going to be able to go on and win.”
Setti Warren also said he had not been pressured by Democrat leaders to drop out and made the decision after consulting with his family. He has polled poorly and had difficulty raising money.
Other Democrats running for the seat held by Republican Scott Brown include City Year youth program co-founder Alan Khazei, immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco, state Rep. Tom Conroy, Newton engineer Herb Robinson and Robert Massie, who ran for lieutenant governor in 1994.
Warren had trouble raising money among the Democrats hoping to challenge GOP Sen. Scott Brown. He also faced criticism for launching a Senate bid so soon after winning his first mayoral term.
Warren is an Iraq War veteran serving as the state’s first popularly elected black mayor. He has also worked in the White House under former President Bill Clinton and as a staffer for U.S. Sen. John Kerry.
Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren (no relation to the Newton mayor) has garnered much of the attention since joining the crowded Democratic field this month. She has won the backing from much of the party establishment. Democrats eager for a major challenger against Brown had urged her to run.
The Democratic contenders are to meet for a debate Tuesday night at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Faced with a crowded field, Democrats worry that a long, costly and divisive primary could dash their hopes of reclaiming the seat after their embarrassing loss to Brown in 2010. Brown won a special election for the seat held for nearly 50 years by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009.
With additional reporting by The WBUR Newsroom
Thank you all for coming this morning.
I wanted to end my campaign for the US Senate, where it began, in front of the home where I grew up and now live with my wife Tassy and two children – Abigail and John – who are here with me today.
I got in to this race for one reason and one reason only – to beat Scott Brown. 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.
Last summer, I watched as the junior Senator from Massachusetts, my senator, our senator, vote against the interests of my city – and communities all across this Commonwealth. He voted against funding for teachers, police officers and firefighters. He voted against Pell Grants and Head Start – two key building blocks to opportunity for our children. And he threatened to hold up unemployment benefits until the wealthiest Americans got their tax cuts preserved.
These aren’t the values I was raised with – and they aren’t the values of the people of Massachusetts.
Making the difference has been central to my life – and it should be at the heart of why anyone would run for office and ask for your votes. Making a difference is why I knocked on 11,000 doors to become the Mayor of Newton when my community was in trouble. Making a difference is why I enlisted in the Navy Reserves shortly after 9/11 and served a year-long tour of duty in Iraq.
And making a difference is why six other highly qualified Democrats are out on the campaign trail week in and week out, making the case against Scott Brown and for a different vision of our country. I am certain that one of these Democrats will emerge, as our nominee, and will beat Scott Brown in November 2012.
I want to take a few minutes to thank my family, my staff and my supporters. Over the course of the last five months you have been my rock, you have fueled my momentum and lifted my spirits. I am so proud of the campaign we ran with very limited resources. We did over 110 campaign stops, met with thousands of voters face to face, garnered support in every corner of the Commonwealth and relentlessly held Scott Brown accountable for his votes.
In more than 81 cities and towns, I heard directly from you about the need to get Americans back to work, to invest in our infrastructure, to guarantee affordable health care for all and cost effectively safeguard our nation.
I want to close by talking about my experience in Iraq. When I was deployed, I saw the worst of humanity – carnage, death.
The men and women I served with came from all different backgrounds and walks of life came together around a common purpose – to serve our country honorably, to protect one another and preserve our way of life.
When I returned home to this great country, I saw what is best about humanity – the opportunity, our freedom, our ingenuity, our spirit creates. But I also saw that my country and my community was in trouble.
Today, America, and particularly lawmakers in Washington, must try to capture the bond of common purpose that I felt serving with my unit in Iraq. We must do this to move forward together as a country. We must focus on solutions rather than ideology. We must find common ground without compromising our principles.
We must always ask ourselves, “Am I doing this for the right reasons – to serve my country, to strengthen my community, to meet the needs of my fellow citizens?”
I believe that through a sense of shared responsibility, we can lift our fellow citizens up in their time of need, rebuild the middle class – what made this country great … and ensure that America lives up to its full potential for everyone.
Today, I head into Newton City Hall as I have throughout this campaign – delighted to be my hometown’s Mayor, anxious to continue the great work we’ve started here and looking forward to fighting for democratic values and principles in whatever way I can.