The Associated Press called the race for Elizabeth Warren (D), a Harvard University professor, consumer advocate and first-time political candidate, around 10 p.m. She had 53 percent of votes to Brown’s 47 percent, with 47 percent of precincts reporting.
The Bay State’s junior Senator won an improbable special election victory in January 2010 that shocked the political world. The results this evening, in deep-blue Massachusetts, proved decidedly less of a jolt.
The makeup of politics in the Bay State — which has a heavily Democratic Legislature, a Democratic governor and an all-Democratic House delegation — always meant Brown had an uphill climb. Republicans expected Brown would have had to bring in about 65 percent of unaffiliated voters, 90 percent of registered Bay State Republicans and 20 percent of registered Democrats to win. That didn’t appear to happen tonight.
Brown, one of the best retail politicians running for Senate this cycle, attempted to hew a path to re-election through the power of his everyman personality and bipartisan appeal. He almost never missed an opportunity to trumpet his independent bona fides and note that he was the second-most bipartisan Senator according to CQ’s rankings.
But Warren — who roused the liberal base in Massachusetts and oversaw a massive ground operation boosted by presidential year turnout — proved too tough a contender.
The race was unique among Senate contests in the country. Both candidates agreed to keep outside third-party groups from advertising on TV, radio and the Internet. But because Brown and Warren each raised gargantuan sums of money, the Bay State airwaves in the final months were saturated with negative ads from both sides.
In the end, though, this race wasn’t about ads on TV, but about the partisan lean in presidential years on the ground. And even the best Senate candidate would have had trouble overcoming that most scarlet of words appearing after his name on the Massachusetts ballot: Republican.