United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 2012

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United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 2012
Massachusetts
2010 ←
November 6, 2012 (2012-11-06)
→ 2018

  Elizabeth Warren--Official 113th Congressional Portrait--.jpg Sbrownofficial.jpg
Nominee Elizabeth Warren Scott Brown
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,696,346 1,458,048
Percentage 53.7% 46.2%

2012 US Senate election in Massachusetts results by municipality.svg

Election results by municipality

U.S. Senator before election

Scott Brown
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Elizabeth Warren
Democratic

The 2012 United States Senate election in Massachusetts took place on November 6, 2012, concurrently with the U.S. presidential election and elections to the U.S. Senate in other states, as well as elections to the House of Representatives and various state and local elections.

Incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown ran for re-election to a first full term. He had been elected in a special election in 2010 following the death of incumbent Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy. Brown faced no challengers from his own party. For the Democrats, an initial wide field of prospective candidates narrowed after the entry of Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren, the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren clinched near-unanimous party support, with all but one of the other Democratic candidates withdrawing following her entrance. After winning her party's nomination, eliminating any need for a primary, she faced Brown in the general election.

The election was one of the most-followed races in 2012 and cost approximately $82 million, which made it the most expensive election in Massachusetts history and the 2nd most expensive in the entire 2012 election cycle, next to that year's presidential election. This was despite the two candidates' having agreed not to allow outside money to influence the race. Opinion polling indicated a close race for much of the campaign, though Warren opened up a small but consistent lead in the final few weeks. She went on to defeat Brown by over 236,000 votes, 54% to 46%.

Background[edit]

Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy was re-elected in 2006, and died on August 25, 2009 from a malignant brain tumor.[1] On September 24, 2009, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appointed longtime friend of Kennedy and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul G. Kirk succeed him until a special election could be held.[2] Kirk's appointment was especially controversial, as the Governor's ability to appoint an interim Senator was removed during the Romney administration by the Democratic-controlled legislature, as a precaution if Senator and presidential nominee John Kerry was elected President in 2004. Laws surrounding Senate appointment were quickly changed following Kennedy's death.[3] The Massachusetts Republican Party sued in an attempt to halt Kirk's appointment, but it was rejected by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly.[4]

In the special election held on January 19, 2010, Republican State Senator Scott Brown defeated Democratic State Attorney General Martha Coakley in an upset victory.[5] Brown thus became the first Republican to be elected from Massachusetts to the United States Senate since Edward Brooke in 1972 and he began serving the remainder of Kennedy's term on February 4, 2010.[6][7]

Republican primary[edit]

Incumbent Scott Brown faced no challenges from within his party. The political action committee National Republican Trust, a group integral to Brown's election in 2010, vowed to draft a challenger for Brown but were unable to find one.[8]

Candidates[edit]

Polling[edit]

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
Scott
Brown
More conservative
challenger
Other Undecided
Public Policy Polling September 16–18, 2011 255 ± 6.1% 70% 21% 9%

Results[edit]

Republican primary results[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Scott Brown 133,860 99.46%
Republican Write-ins 733 0.54%
Totals 134,593 100%

Democratic primary[edit]

The Massachusetts Democratic Convention was held on June 2, 2012, where Warren received 95.77% of delegate votes.[11] As the only candidate with 15% of delegate votes necessary to qualify for the primary ballot, Warren eliminated her challenger Marisa DeFranco, becoming the de facto nominee. The Democratic primary was held September 6, 2012, with Warren running unopposed.[12]

Candidates[edit]

Declared[edit]

Withdrew[edit]

Declined[edit]

Polling[edit]

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
Tom
Conroy
Marisa
DeFranco
Jim
King
Alan
Khazei
Bob
Massie
Herb
Robinson
Elizabeth
Warren
Setti
Warren
Other Undecided
Public Policy Polling September 16–18, 2011 461 ± 4.6% 7% 2% 9% 2% 1% 55% 1% 22%
UMass Lowell September 22–28, 2011 1,005 ± 3.8% 5% 4% 3% 3% 1% 36% 3% 1% 32%
YouGov for UMass Amherst November 9–22, 2011 122 ± 4.6% 7% 6% 2% 73% 13%
Suffolk University/7NEWS February 11–15, 2012 218 ± ?% 5% 1% 72% 20%
Suffolk University/7NEWS May 20–22, 2012 284 ± ?% 6% 71% 12%

Results[edit]

Democratic convention vote[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elizabeth Warren 3,352 95.77%
Democratic Marisa DeFranco 148 4.23%
Totals 3,500 100%
Democratic primary vote[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elizabeth Warren 308,979 97.59%
Democratic Write-ins 7,638 2.41%
Totals 316,617 100%

General election[edit]

Campaign[edit]

Brown campaigning in his truck.

Brown ran as a moderate, stressing his ability to cross party lines and highlighting his votes for the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and to repeal "don't ask, don't tell".[33] Warren campaigned on a platform championing the middle class, and supporting Wall Street regulation. Warren criticized Brown for continually voting with Republican leadership, and argued that he was not the bipartisan moderate he claimed to be.[34][35]

Warren spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, immediately before Bill Clinton, the penultimate night of the convention. Warren contrasted President Obama's economic plan with Mitt Romney's in the 2012 election and rebuked the Republican Party's economic policy stating: "Their vision is clear: 'I've got mine, and the rest of you are on your own.'" Warren positioned herself as a champion of a beleaguered middle class that, as she said, "has been chipped, squeezed and hammered."[36][37][38] Brown attended, but was not a speaker at, the 2012 Republican National Convention. According to Brown, he had rejected an offer to play a larger role, and limited his attendance to a single day because of scheduling demands.[39][40]

Following Todd Akin's controversial "legitimate rape" comments, Brown was the first sitting Senator to demand he drop out of the Missouri U.S. Senate race.[41] He also called on his Party to "recognize in its platform that you can be pro-choice and still be a good Republican."[41] Brown's campaign had been endorsed by many Massachusetts Democrats, many of whom were prominently featured in his campaign ads.[42]

Warren campaigning with retiring Congressman Barney Frank (right) and his eventual successor, Joseph P. Kennedy III (left).

In September 2011, a video of Warren explaining her approach to economic policy gained popularity on the internet.[43] In the video, Warren rebuts the charge that asking the rich to pay more taxes is "class warfare", pointing out that no one grew rich in America without depending on infrastructure paid for by the rest of society.[44][45] On July 13, President Obama sparked a controversy when he echoed her thoughts[46][47] in a campaign speech saying, "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."[48][49]

On April 27, 2012, the Boston Herald reported that Harvard Law School had touted Warren's Native American heritage as an example of their faculty's diversity. When the Herald inquired about Warren's Native American heritage, her campaign stated that she had learned of her heritage through family lore about her Cherokee ancestors.[50][51] The New England Historical Genealogical Society could not find documentary proof of Native American lineage,[52] but a spokesperson from the Oklahoma Historical Society said "finding a definitive answer about Native American heritage can be difficult, not only because of intermarriage, but also because some Native Americans opted not to be put on federal rolls, while others who were not Native American did put their names on rolls to get access to land."[53] While Harvard Law professor Charles Fried, who sat on the appointing committee which recommended Warren for hire in 1995, said that her heritage was never mentioned in the appointments process, the question behind Warren's ancestry was pressed by the Brown campaign throughout the election.[54] However, polls showed that that most voters said that the controversy would not impact their vote in the election.[55]

A staple of Brown's attack tactics against Warren was his consistent reference to her as "Professor Warren", in attempt to portray her as an elitist academic.[56] Brown faced blowback after the second debate, during which he claimed conservative Antonin Scalia was a "model" Supreme Court Justice, prompting boos from the debate audience.[57]

Endorsements[edit]

Debates[edit]

Both candidates agreed to four televised debates, three of which were held. The candidates agreed to a fourth debate which was to be held on October 30 in WGBH-TV's studio, hosted by a Boston mediaB consortium, and moderated by John King, but the day before both pulled out due to Hurricane Sandy.[225][226] Victoria Kennedy, widow of Ted Kennedy, had proposed an additional debate with Tom Brokaw as moderator, however Brown would only accept the invitation if she pledged not to endorse Brown's opponent; which she refused.[227][228]

Debate 1: September 20 at WBZ-TV studio, hosted by WBZ and WBZ Newsradio 1030. Moderated by the station's political reporter Jon Keller.[229][230]

Debate 2: October 1 at UMass Lowell, co-hosted by UMass and The Boston Herald. Moderated by David Gregory.[231]

Debate 3: October 10 at Springfield Symphony Hall, hosted by a Western MassachusettsA consortium. Moderated by WGBY-TV's Jim Madigan.[232]

Fundraising[edit]

The election cost approximately $82 million, making it the most expensive election in Massachusetts' history and of any Congressional race in history as well as the second-most expensive election in the 2012 election cycle, behind only the 2012 presidential election.[233][234]

The People's Pledge[edit]

Both Warren and Brown stated early in the race that they would not accept television advertisement assistance from Super PACs and interest groups. On January 23, 2012 both candidates signed the agreement, or People's Pledge. While no outside groups were obligated by the agreement, both candidates agreed to donate a sum equal to 50% of an advertisement run by any groups to a charity of the other candidate's choice.[235] The pledge was only broken twice, by Brown supporters. In March the American Petroleum Institute and Coalition of Americans for Political Equality launched ads supporting Brown, and as a result, the Brown campaign agreed to make donations of $1,000 and $34,545, respectively, to the charity of Warren's choice: the Autism Consortium.[236][237]

Top donors[edit]

Contributions by affiliationC

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

Scott Brown Elizabeth Warren
Contributor Contribution Contributor Contribution
Fidelity Investments $289,455 EMILY's List $507,095
EMC Corporation $169,800 Moveon.org $448,517
Goldman Sachs $119,400 Harvard University $304,050
VoteSane PAC $113,250 MIT $77,200
State Street Corp $106,650 Boston University $73,700
MassMutual $106,198 Brown Rudnick LLP $68,077
Raytheon $89,350 University of California $63,600
Liberty Mutual $85,500 League of Conservation Voters $54,551
JPMorgan Chase $80,855 Ropes & Gray $52,950
PricewaterhouseCoopers $79,800 Thornton & Naumes $44,450
Contributions by industry

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

Scott Brown Elizabeth Warren
Industry Contribution Industry Contribution
Retired $3,574,088 Retired $3,374,569
Securities & Investment $3,370,618 Lawyers/Law Firms $2,196,972
Lawyers/Law Firms $1,332,582 Women's Issues $1,588,383
Real Estate $1,192,258 Education $1,335,058
Insurance $914,504 Democratic/Liberal $1,253,375
Health Professionals $877,878 Securities & Investment $534,275
Misc Finance $828,501 TV/Movies/Music $476,814
Business Services $661,647 Health Professionals $456,006
Computer industry/Internet $637,825 Business Services $455,291
Republican/Conservative $616,158 Printing & Publishing $387,031

Polling[edit]

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
Scott
Brown (R)
Elizabeth
Warren (D)
Other Undecided
W. New England U. March 6–10, 2011 472 RV ± 4.5% 51% 34% 14%
Public Policy Polling June 2–5, 2011 957 RV ± 3.2% 47% 32% 21%
WBUR MassInc August 30–September 1, 2011 500 ± 4.4% 44% 35% 2% 19%
Public Policy Polling September 16–18, 2011 957 RV ± 3.2% 44% 46% 10%
UMass Lowell September 22–28, 2011 1,005 RV ± 3.8% 41% 38% 3% 14%
W. New England U. September 29–October 5, 2011 475 RV ± 4.5% 47% 42% 10%
YouGov for UMass Amherst November 9–22, 2011 433 RV ± 4.4% 39% 43% 4% 14%
UMass Lowell / Boston Herald December 1–6, 2011 505 RV ± 5.3% 42% 49% 3% 6%
Opinion Dynamics for Mass Insight January 31–February 4, 2012 456 RV ± 4.6% 52% 42% 6%
MassINC for WBUR February 6–9, 2012 505 LV ± 4.4% 43% 46% 1% 11%
Suffolk/WHDH February 11–15, 2012 600 LV ± 4% 49% 40% 2% 9%
Rasmussen Reports February 29, 2012 500 LV ± 4.5% 49% 44% 2% 5%
W. New England U. February 23–March 1, 2012 527 RV ± 4.3% 49% 41% 10%
Public Policy Polling March 16–18, 2012 936 RV ± 3.2% 41% 46% 13%
Boston Globe March 21–27, 2012 544 LV ± 4.2% 37% 35% 26%
Rasmussen Reports April 9, 2012 500 LV ± 4.5% 45% 46% 1% 8%
MassINC for MassLive April 25–28, 2012 438 LV ± 4.7% 41% 43% 1% 12%
Rasmussen Reports May 7, 2012 500 LV ± 4.5% 45% 45% 2% 8%
Suffolk/WHDH May 20–22, 2012 600 LV ± 4% 48% 47% 5%
Boston Globe May 25–31, 2012 651 LV ± 3.8% 39% 37% 2% 23%
W. New England U. May 29–31, 2012 504 RV ± 4.4% 43% 45% 11%
Public Policy Polling June 22–24, 2012 902 RV ± 3.3% 46% 46% 8%
MassINC July 19–22, 2012 445 RV ± 4.4% 38% 40% 16%
Public Policy Polling August 16–19, 2012 1,115 LV ± 4.4% 49% 44% 8%
Kimball Political Consulting August 21, 2012 1,500 RV ± 4% 49% 43% 9%
Kimball Political Consulting September 7–9, 2012 756 LV ± 3.5% 46% 45% 9%
W. New England U. September 6–13, 2012 444 LV ± 4.6% 44% 50% 6%
Public Policy Polling September 13–16, 2012 876 LV ± 3.3% 46% 48% 6%
Suffolk/WHDH September 13–16, 2012 600 LV ± 4% 44% 48% 8%
UMass Lowell / Boston Herald September 13–17, 2012 497 LV ± 4% 49% 45% 1% 4%
MassINC for WBUR September 15–17, 2012 507 LV ± 4.4% 40% 45% 2% 12%
Kimball Political Consulting September 20, 2012 868 LV ± 3.25% 48% 47% 1% 3%
UMass Lowell / Boston Herald September 20, 2012 524 RV ± 5.3% 50% 44% 1% 5%
Rasmussen Reports September 24, 2012 500 LV ± 4.5% 48% 48% 5%
Boston Globe September 21–27, 2012 502 LV ± 4.4% 38% 43% 1% 18%
WBUR September 26–28, 2012 504 LV ± 4.4% 45% 49% 1% 6%
Opinion Dynamics for Mass Insight September 25–30, 2012 329 LV ± 5.4% 44% 48% 8%
W. New England U. September 28–October 4, 2012 440 LV ± 4.3% 45% 50% 5%
MassINC for WBUR October 5–7, 2012 501 LV ± 4.4% 48% 45% 1% 8%
YouGov for UMass Amherst October 2–8, 2012 436 LV ± 5.4% 45% 48% 6%
Rasmussen Reports October 10, 2012 500 LV ± 4.5% 47% 49% 4%
YouGov October 4–11, 2012 669 LV ± 4.9% 39% 46% 15%
Public Policy Polling October 9–11, 2012 1,051 LV ± 3% 44% 50% 6%
Public Policy Polling for the LCV October 15–16, 2012 709 LV ± 3.5% 44% 53%
Kimball Political Consulting October 18–21, 2012 761 LV ± 3.5% 45% 48% 7%
MassINC for WBUR October 21–22, 2012 516 LV ± 4.4% 44% 50% 1% 4%
Rasmussen Reports October 25, 2012 500 LV ± 4.5% 47% 52%
Boston Globe October 24–28, 2012 583 LV ± 4.1% 47% 47% 6%
Suffolk/WHDH October 25–28, 2012 600 LV ± 4% 46% 53% 1%
W. New England U. October 26–November 1, 2012 535 LV ± 4% 46% 50% 4%
Public Policy Polling November 1–2, 2012 1,089 LV ± 3% 46% 52% 2%
UMass Lowell/Boston Herald October 31–November 3, 2012 800 LV ± 4.1% 49% 48% 1% 1%

* RV= Registered voters; LV= Likely voters

Results[edit]

2012 Massachusetts U.S. Senate election[238]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Elizabeth Warren 1,696,346 53.74% Increase 6.6%
Republican Scott Brown (incumbent) 1,458,048 46.19% Decrease 4.9%
All others 2,159 0.07% Decrease 0.9%
Majority 236,139 7.48%
Turnout 3,156,553
Democratic gain from Republican Swing Increase 6.2%

Aftermath[edit]

The People's Pledge was a popular concept, which Common Cause proposed being implemented in other races. The pledge also resulted in fewer attack ads on the airwaves.[239]

Less than two months after the election, President Barack Obama nominated Senator John Kerry to become United States Secretary of State. Kerry was sworn in on February 1, making newly inaugurated Warren the state's senior Senator, and the Senate's most-junior senior senator.[240] In the Senate special election to replace Kerry the following year, Democratic nominee Ed Markey asked his Republican rival Gabriel E. Gomez to sign a similar pledge with him, although Gomez refused.[241]

The election was a critical event in both candidate's political careers, with Warren becoming a political icon after entering the Senate, and being drafted to run for President in 2016.[242] After the election loss, Brown was considered the most prominent Republican in Massachusetts, and heavily favored to run in the Senate special election the following year and for Governor in 2014,[6][243] though he declined to do either.[244][245] He has also ruled out running against Markey in the regularly-scheduled 2014 Senate election in Massachusetts.[246] He has instead moved to New Hampshire and is running for the Senate there in 2014 against Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen.[247]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

A.^ The Western Massachusetts consortium consists of The Republican, Daily Hampshire Gazette, New England Public Radio, Valley Press Club, Springfield Public Forum, WSHM-LD, WWLP-TV, WGGB-TV, WGBY-TV, Western New England University, and University of Massachusetts, Amherst.[248]
B.^ The Boston media consortium consists of WGBH-TV/WGBH FM, WBUR, New England Cable News, WCVB-TV, WHDH, and The Boston Globe.[226]
C.^ The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations' PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Citations[edit]

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  53. ^ In Mass. US Senate race, a question of heritage | CNS News
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External links[edit]