Democrat Alan Khazei is dropping out of the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race. A spokesman said Wednesday that Khazei will announce his plans during a news conference Thursday.
Khazei ran two years ago for the special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and came in third in the Democratic field. Khazei was the only Democrat from that race to come back and try to unseat Sen. Scott Brown.
When Khazei entered the Democratic race this time, he started strong. He was the only candidate with name recognition, since he'd run for the job before. Once again, he tried to position himself as a pragmatic idealist, the Washington, D.C., outsider who refused to take money from political action committees and co-founded City Year, a national service agency that's put thousands of young people to work.
As a candidate, Khazei tried to reach middle- and working-class voters concerned about their economic futures.
"I've heard from many people," he said, "the system is failing too many Americans."
By the summer, people were talking about Khazei as the Democratic front-runner.
But then consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren jumped into the race. Here was the Harvard professor who had educated the president — if not the nation — about bankruptcy and predatory lending. She was a national crusader against policies and regulations that she says favor banks over real people.
All eyes and checkbooks focused on her.
"Well there's clearly Democratic-based establishment groups who have decided who their candidate is," Khazei said in an interview with WCVB-TV.
He criticized Warren for taking money from political action committees.
"I'm not their candidate. They don't have any strings on me. I'm the underdog in this race. But you know what, I'm running to represent the underdogs."
Warren raised more than $3 million in about six weeks. That's more than twice what Khazei collected all year.
Khazei spokesman Scott Ferson says it became difficult to raise money and attract supporters, so Khazei decided the campaign was unsustainable.
"Elizabeth Warren clearly struck a chord with the electorate in general and with primary voters and people who vote in Democratic primaries in specific," Ferson said. "You know, that's just an honest reading of where people are."
In addition to Warren, Khazei's departure leaves four other Democrats — Rep. Tom Conroy, lawyer Marisa DeFranco, lawyer James King and engineer Herb Robinson.
This program aired on October 27, 2011.