- The Washington Times - Monday, May 9, 2011

The field of Democrats angling to challenge Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts next year got a little more crowded Monday when Newton Mayor Setti Warren announced his intent to seek his party’s nomination.

“Today, I’m announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate,” Mr. Warren said in the jam-packed video announcement. “I believe Scott Brown is an honorable man, but he has not been the independent voice in the Senate that so many expected him to be. He has voted 87 percent of the time with his national Republican leaders.”

Asked about Mr. Warren’s entry into the race, Brown spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the Republican incumbent “was elected to do a job, and his focus is on cutting spending and getting our economy moving again.”

“There will be plenty of time for campaigning later,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said.

While Democrats insist that Mr. Brown is vulnerable in 2012, the state party has struggled to recruit a major candidate willing to take him on and try to take back the seat held for decades by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

So far, the Kennedy clan has taken a pass - Vicki Kennedy, the senators widow, is not interested, and former Rep. Joe Kennedy, a nephew, has suggested that he wont be tossing his hat into the ring. The states top Democrat, Gov. Deal Patrick, also appears unwilling to enter the race.

Earlier this year, Thomas M. Menino, the straight-talking, five-term mayor of Boston, handicapped his party’s chances of ousting Mr. Brown during an interview with the Boston Herald: “Theres nobody that can beat him,” he said.

The Democratic field also includes Alan Khazei, co-founder of a major local youth program; Robert Massie, a former candidate for lieutenant governor, and lawyer Marisa DeFranco.

In the announcement, Mr. Warren says that in the “coming weeks and months, I hope to meet many of you in person or here online where we can talk about the many challenges that face our state and our country.”

He notes that his father grew up in New York City on “the most dangerous block in Harlem,” served in the Korean War and then went to college in North Carolina with his mother where they “risked their lives desegregating lunch counters and movie theaters.”

“As a Democrat, I believe in the core values of creating opportunity for all Americans and protecting our most vulnerable,” he said. “We need to cut government spending, but we cannot let a crisis borne of fiscal mismanagement destroy all that we stand for as Americans.”