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Prodded by Gov. Deval Patrick for the second time in two weeks, Newton Mayor Setti Warren acknowledged for the first time Monday night that he is considering a campaign against U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in 2012.
Warren, a former aide to U.S. Sen. John Kerry, said in a statement that he was "honored" Patrick would mention him as a "possible candidate" for U.S. Senate next year.
"I am considering a run against Senator Brown. I have been disappointed by many of his votes, which I believe have hurt many cities and towns in Massachusetts, including my own community of Newton," Warren said in a statement.
The acknowledgment from Warren that he is eyeing a run for Senate just over a year into his first term as mayor of Newton comes after repeated insistence that he is focused on his job as mayor despite suggestions from prominent Democrats that he was considering a race and could make a viable challenger.
Mayor Setti Warren said in a statement, "I am considering a run against Senator Brown. I have been disappointed by many of his votes, which I believe have hurt many cities and towns in Massachusetts."
In interviews with the News Service, however, he has never explicitly ruled out a campaign for U.S. Senate.
"I am not yet ready to announce an official decision on entering the race. But in the final analysis, if I believe I can do a better job for Massachusetts, I'll put my name on the ballot," Warren said.
Patrick, a friend of Warren's, has done little to quell the speculation surrounding a Warren candidacy.
In an interview with the National Journal over the weekend while in Washington D.C. for the National Governors Association winter meeting, Patrick said he was not recruiting challengers, but had spoken to Warren, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, City Year Founder Alan Khazei and Democratic activist Robert Massie about their prospects.
"Kim is not in; she has not made up her mind, but I know she's thinking about it seriously. But Alan and Bob and Setti are in, for sure," Patrick was quoted as saying in an article posted online Monday.
It was not the first time the governor stoked the flames around Warren, using the term "Senatorial
candidate" to describe the mayor in an interview with the Salem News two weeks ago when he was not even questioned about Warren.
When asked his thoughts on Driscoll considering a run of her own, Patrick told the Salem News that
he was a big fan of Driscoll's, but had other friends in the race as well.
"There are other Senatorial candidates in that room who are really good friends of mine and one
of them is Setti Warren. So it'll be an interesting race," Patrick said after addressing a group of mayors in Salem.
Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh said he was unaware if Warren or any other potential Brown challengers had made up their minds. "As far as I know, the only candidate formally in the race is Bob Massie," Walsh said, referring to the former lieutenant governor candidate who has already declared his intentions.
Khazei, who finished third in the Democratic Senate primary in 2009 following the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, has also been said by party stalwarts to be leaning strongly toward another campaign.
Warren, born in 1970, is the first African-American mayor popularly elected in Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston College and Suffolk University Law School before working as a special assistant in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs under President Bill Clinton.
From there, Warren went on to become the New England Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and then deputy state director to Senator Kerry before breaking out on his own. In the midst of his rise through Democratic politics, Warren did a year-long tour of duty in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 as an intelligence officer in the Navy reserve.
Prominent Democrats first began to raise the possibility of Warren running for Senate late last year, telling the News Service that as a young mayor with experience at both the national
and local levels and a military background that could offset Brown's own service record, Warren
could be an attractive candidate to many voters looking for new blood.
Around the same time, Warren began to take noticeable steps to increase his profile, participating in a Democratic National Committee conference call in October, earning a shout-out from President Obama at a Newton fundraiser in the same month, and being one of a handful of mayors across the country quoted in a
White House press release on the president's State of the Union address last month.
More recently, Warren combined an appearance on CBCN with a trip to New Bedford on Presidents Day where he joined Kerry and New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang in speaking out against proposed cuts in
federal Community Development Block Grant funding.
Also considering Senate runs in 2012 are U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, who finished second to Martha Coakley in the 2009 Democratic Senate primary, and Robert Pozen, a former Fidelity executive and one-time economic advisor to Gov.Mitt Romney who currently serves as the chairman of MFS Financial Services.
Pozen has said he would run as a Democrat if he entered the race.
This program aired on March 1, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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