Elizabeth Warren has defeated Scott Brown in the race for the Massachusetts Senate.
The race was one of the most-watched campaigns of the years. Republican Brown had scored a surprising win in 2010 when he won the seat that had been occupied by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy for more than four decades, and Warren’s win put the seat back in Democratic hands.
With almost half of the precincts reporting, she was ahead of Brown 53 percent to 47 percent. The two were deadlocked for a majority of the summer, but the race began to favor Warren in the final weeks.
Brown and Warren both stuck to a pact they signed last January that banned super PACs from the campaign. If a third-party group spent money advertising on one of the candidates’ behalf, that candidate would have to use campaign funds to make a donation to a charity of their opponent’s choice. The amount of the donation would be equal to half of what the third-party group spent.
Warren made nearly $37,000 in donations as third-party groups tested the sincerity of the candidates’ pledge.
By mid-October, the candidates had spent a combined $66 million in addition to $65 million spent by third-party groups. Brown spent $36 million to Warren’s $30 million, and the race was the most expensive election in Massachusetts history.
Warren faced a bit of controversy over the course of the race when past claims of her Native American heritage surfaced. She did not have proof of the 1/32 Cherokee heritage that she claimed but had still been listed as a minority professor in a Harvard Law faculty directory. Warren couldn’t give a clear answer but quickly turned the race around in her favor with her promise to protect the middle class.
Elizabeth Warren has made history by becoming Massachusetts’ first female senator.
Photo of Elizabeth Warren VIA Tim Pierce