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December 31, 2012

Warren win tops list of year's biggest political stories

(Continued)

2) ROMNEY BECOMES LATEST MASS POL TO RUN FOR PREZ AND LOSE

Massachusetts is used to producing candidates for president, just not often of the Republican variety. 2012 was different. After running unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in 2008, former Gov. Mitt Romney got the nod in his second run, attempting to knock off an incumbent president perceived as vulnerable due to the struggling state of the national economy. Given its reliably Democratic voting tendencies, Massachusetts often gets overlooked during presidential contests. But while Romney may not have spent much time courting Bay State voters, the state became a centerpiece of the election-year narrative. Obama carried Massachusetts with 61 percent to Romney’s 37 percent, and Romney fell 64 electoral-college votes short of the presidency. Pundits have blamed Romney’s loss on a variety of factors, not the least of which was Romney’s inability to connect on a personal level with voters. The campaign, however, gave local Democrats ample opportunity to share the national spotlight as Gov. Deval Patrick and a handful of state legislators were called upon by the Obama campaign to travel the country and tell the story – mostly a negative recollection – of Romney’s four years as governor in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, state GOP leaders were treated to the rare red carpet treatment at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

1) ELIZABETH WARREN DEFEATS U.S. SEN. SCOTT BROWN

The unquestioned top story of the year, according to scribes who spent the better part of 2012 chronicling the ups and downs of the campaign cycle, was the victory of political newcomer Elizabeth Warren over popular incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown. As one of the most watched and expensive U.S. Senate races in the country, the contest between Warren and Brown drew national attention, culminating with a historic eight-point win on election day that made Warren the first female to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. It also marked a redemptive moment for Democrats who felt they had been caught flat-footed by Brown in 2010 when the little-known state senator from Wrentham defeated Attorney General Martha Coakley to claim for the GOP the seat long held by Edward Kennedy. Warren, a Harvard law professor and founder of the Consumer Protection Bureau, had never run for public office, but overcame early stumbles to capitalize on her national popularity as a sharp critic of the banking industry. She was able to overcome a huge money advantage that Brown carried into the race by raising over $40 million, and countered questions raised by her opponents about her claimed Native American heritage and legal work for large corporations by painting Brown as someone who sides with the rich and would vote with GOP leadership in Washington. Warren will be sworn in to the Senate in the coming days, and could quickly become the state’s senior senator with Sen. John Kerry preparing to leave Congress to become the next secretary of state.

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