Massachusetts’ first openly gay governor. Boston’s first Asian American mayor. The first Black woman AG.
In a season of diversity and historic firsts, isn’t it about time for at least one of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats to be occupied by a person of color?
The person blocking that now is the incumbent, Elizabeth Warren.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who couldn’t even win her own home state in the presidential primary, is now assuring everyone she’s running for a third Senate term in 2024 — despite reports that she’s still eyeing the White House. In a softball interview on public TV, she said she’ll make her formal re-election announcement “sometime soon.”
But the question looms over her candidacy: why should Massachusetts continue to be represented in the Senate by a rich, white woman who once tried to pass herself off as a minority?
Massachusetts voters might be asking themselves the same question. The last elected Black senator in Massachusetts was Republican Ed Brooke, but that was in the 1970’s.
The biggest threat to Warren is not from a Republican challenge, but a Democratic one. Warren would be vulnerable against a popular Democratic candidate, especially one of color. And she did not endear herself to the minority community by endorsing Attorney General Andrea Campbell’s white opponent, Shannon Liss-Riordan, in the 2022 primary.
While Campbell, who just started her first term, would be an unlikely Senate candidate, there are other Democrats who would be formidable opponents.
Michelle Wu was elected two years ago as the first non-white male mayor in Boston’s history, and she has only elevated her stature in state politics since then. Wu could be eyeing the U.S. Senate seat if she ever decides that she doesn’t want protesters hounding her Roslindale house and City Hall office every day.
Wu might even be favored in a matchup against Warren.
Then there’s Deval Patrick, the state’s first Black governor, who has since stayed active in politics, running for president last time around.
Patrick was elected to two terms as governor, and has recently been back in the public eye at the unveiling of the Embrace statue on Boston Common. And we know he’s ambitious by his failed White House bid. He’d have a much better chance at a Senate seat.
The most potentially powerful candidate for U.S. Senate is U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who ousted a veteran white Democratic incumbent in a primary to win her congressional seat.
Pressley might not want to challenge Warren the same way she disposed of Rep. Michael Capuano but if Warren runs for president again or shows weakness Pressley would be a clear favorite to move up to the Senate.
Other potential Senate candidates are Tanisha Sullivan, head of the Boston NAACP who ran for Secretary of State last year; Michael Curry, the highly respected former NAACP head, and U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins. All of them would pose a clear threat to Warren.
Warren would be smart to watch her back and forget about her presidential ambitions and concentrate on keeping her seat. She was weakened with her disastrous showing on Super Tuesday, where didn’t finish second in any primary. Massachusetts was the only state where she got more than 20% of the vote but Joe Biden still clobbered her without even campaigning here.
Voters sent her a clear message, one she should heed if she wants to keep her job.
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