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Briefings: Elizabeth Warren Rides Again—Officially Now…

Elizabeth Warren

Jinkies! She’s running again! (WMP&I)

Burying rumors she would ride off in the sunset, Elizabeth Warren formally announced Monday she is running for a third term in the US Senate. The one-time Harvard law professor-turned-senator had long said she planned another go. Many in the commonwealth’s anxious political class convinced themselves there may be an open race next year.

With Warren likely to encounter meager primary or general election opposition, the odds are low 2024 will have any significant Massachusetts federal races. As Democrats could retake the House, retirements there are improbable. This run will differ from Warren’s prior Senate bids and this follows her unsuccessful run for president in 2020.

“I first ran for Senate because I saw how the system is rigged for the rich and powerful and against everyone else,” Warren said in her announcement video. “I won because Massachusetts voters know it, too and now I’m running for Senate again because there’s a lot more we’ve got to do.”

Whether fate or fortuitous planning, the banking wobble that took down two FDIC-insured financial institutions gives Warren an apt context for the announcement. Her advocacy for regulation amid the Great Recession made her a household name for liberals and political junkies alike. Indeed, Warren unsheathes her battle sword, not to win reelection, but to tighten rules and protect the public.

“We know it won’t be easy. We’ve seen the powerful forces against us and how extreme the Republicans are. But the last ten years have taught us that when we organize, when we hold those in power accountable, when we fight righteous fights—then we can make positive change,” she continued.

As a presidential candidate, Warren essentially ran on policyism, that is having plan for nearly everything. It worked for a time, but proved unsustainable. More contemptuous critics, brimming with sexism, essentially pan her know-it-all-ism. That is a hollow charge in the land of the wicked smaht in her state races. It may have mattered in presidential primaries.

Ultimately, her base was too narrow. Warren even placed third in her home state. She joked about on SNL just before the shroud of the coronavirus descended. Warren returned to Washington, embracing her place as the Senate’s Velma or Hermione, much to the consternation of haters and the joy of supporters.

The video is bouncy and upbeat, echoing energy Warren, a spry 73, has brought to each campaign, especially her presidential campaign. While common in Massachusetts, from New York to California, Warren stood for hours to take pictures with supporters.

Three of Warren’s closest allies in the state and a clutch of residents move the two-plus minute video. Fellow Senator Ed Markey, Boston Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and Boston Mayor (and former student) Michelle Wu applaud the Cambridge Democrat’s work in Washington. Notably, the video also leans hard into more tangible victories like making hearing aids affordable and more accessible.

Western Mass gets its cameos in, too. There are shots of Holyoke City Hall—where Warren first teased a presidential run. It also displays her appearances at a March for Our Lives rally and the campaign trail in Springfield.

The meat and potatoes nature of her otherwise jazzy ad both reflect both her longtime approach to Bay State politics and her loss in 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

As a Massachusetts politician, Warren has worked to stay grounded here. Whether meeting with local officials during the pandemic, holding her regular town halls or keeping up on local matters, she has guarded her flank from others’ ambition, something not all statewide electeds did until they had a race on their hands.

There are practical difference from her prior Senate campaigns, too. In 2012, Warren’s strategy was to ride President Barack Obama’s reelection. That way, she could overwhelm Massachusetts’s first Bro-Republican senator since the Lodges and Saltonstalls. In 2018, it was very different. Facing a cipher, she used her considerable campaign finances to bolster the state Democratic party. Its gubernatorial candidate, Jay Gonzalez, struggled to match the Baker juggernaut.

This time Warren will have no obvious imperative to support the down ballot. Undoubtedly her campaign will assist the state party, but Democrats control everything now. Warren will be even freer than in 2018 to help Democrats nationwide and campaign on the basics back home.