Elizabeth Warren, Harvard law professor and Wall Street scourge, formally opened her campaign for the Democratic US Senate nomination in
The Boston Globe reported back in May that state and national activists were "pining" for
Early opinion polls show
There was already a Republican candidate in the race: inventor/businessman Ray Shamie, whose first foray into politics had been a spirited run against Ted Kennedy two years earlier. Shamie had spent nearly a million dollars of his own money on what the Globe called a "plucky and optimistic" campaign in 1982, and the GOP establishment was happy to see him take on Tsongas in what most politicos and pundits assumed would be another hopeless cause. But with Tsongas's departure, party leaders began pining for a candidate with a higher profile and a national reputation. They began lobbying one of most illustrious Republicans in Washington – Elliot Richardson – to return to his native
Richardson had had an extraordinary career. He was a decorated combat veteran who had been editor of the Harvard Law Review and a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. In
"My phone is ringing like crazy and journalists from all over the country are asking questions about Elliot Richardson," exulted Gene Hartigan, the Republican State Committee's executive director. "When I see him mentioned on television, I notice they always roll that incredible resume across the screen."
Opinion polls showed
The point of my story isn't that Elizabeth Warren will be another Elliot Richardson, off to a fast and gaudy start, only to fade badly in the stretch. Nor am I suggesting that City Year cofounder Alan Khazei or
My point is only that nobody knows. Party elites are often the last to realize what animates the rank-and-file. What voters tell pollsters today they may repudiate tomorrow. The Massachusetts Senate primary is still a year away. And in 2012 as in 1984, anything can happen.
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