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Elizabeth Warren Wins Big At Democratic Convention

Elizabeth Warren at DNC

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts has been re-energized. Her last remaining challenger for the Democratic nomination fell by the wayside at the party’s endorsement convention in Springfield over the weekend.  New polls showed the race between Warren and  Republican incumbent Scott Brown  remains a dead heat.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law School professor, consumer advocate and first time candidate for elected office won an unprecedented 96% of the convention delegate’s votes to lock up the US Senate nomination.

        Because the only other senate candidate heading into the convention, immigration lawyer  Marisa DeFranco failed to get at least 15% of the delegates to vote for her there will be no Democratic primary.

        Speaking with reporters after the convention ended, Warren wasted no time in challenging Brown to debate.

        Brown’s campaign responded with a statement, agreeing to debates.  The details on how many , where and when have yet to be worked out.

        In her much anticipated speech at the convention, Warren focused on Brown. She said that at the time he won the special election following the death of Edward Kennedy, Brown seemed like a decent guy, but declared he let us down.  Citing some of his votes and positions Brown has taken, Warren described him as a Wall Street, big oil, Mitt Romney Republican.

        Warren indirectly addressed the controversy that has hampered her campaign for more than a month.  She’s been dogged by questions over an unsubstantiated claim to Native American heritage and whether she used it to advance her academic career.

         Heading into the convention it was uncertain if a primary would be needed to settle the Democratic nomination for senate.  Since convention rules were put in place 30 years ago to keep so-called fringe candidates out of primaries, no two person race had ever not resulted in a primary.

        Democratic party leaders worked hard to keep Warren’s last challenger, Marisa DeFranco from advancing her campaign. Former Governor Michael Dukakis was among those out working the convention floor making the case against a Democratic primary.

        DeFranco’s small group of supporters said they resented national Democratic Party leaders, who recruited Warren, dictating who the senate candidate should be in Massachusetts.  DeFranco said she was disappointed the Democratic Party establishment worked against her.

        Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick delivered a rousing speech at the convention. He urged the 35 hundred party activists to go home and work at the grassroots to assure  President Obama is re-elected and the Massachusett senate seat is put back in the Democrat’s column.

        Two new polls released to coincide with the convention, showed the senate race  in Massachusetts remains a dead-heat between  Brown and  Warren.  A poll by the Western New England University Polling Institute found Warren has cut in Brown’s  still sizable lead among independents, who make up the largest voting block in the state.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.