Brown-Warren Senate race draws Mass. voters in droves

November 6, 2012

Boston --The presidential race and a high-profile Senate contest between Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican incumbent Scott Brown was driving heavy turnout across Massachusetts on Tuesday morning, with state officials saying record turnout was possible.

The race between Warren and Brown for the seat once held by the late-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) was tight going into Election Day, spurring turnout in this famously Blue state where Barack Obama once lived as a law student and Mitt Romney was governor and would have his election night party.

Lines crawled down hallways of schools, outside firehouses and community centers around Cambridge, Somerville and Braintree just outside Boston.

At the end of the most expensive senate race in Massachusetts history, voters cast their choice as one for the decidedly progressive politics of Warren or the sense of moderation they felt that Brown--who shocked the nation when he won Kennedy's seat in 2009--had brought to the Senate.

Around Boston an surrounding towns, Warren sign- wavers stood in medians and outside polling places where they were largely preaching to choirs.

"I just think she is super bright and I just totally buy into her message of wanting to work for the little people and make sure working families get a fair shake," said Emily Kathan, 41, expressing the view of many Warren fans waiting in an hour-long line that stretched down a sunny sidewalk in Somerville, just outside Boston. "For me it's very important to have a voice like hers standing up for women and her record of standing up to Wall Street is fabulous."

Brown territory was further out. At a polling place at a community center in the suburban town of Braintree, voters spoke of Brown's regular guy charm and willingness to vote with Democrats as reasons for going red in a very blue state.

"I like that he's bipartisan," said a man named Jack, a union carpenter who didn't want to give his full name because his union was pushing Warren.

He and others expressed concern that Warren -- a Harvard law professor and avowed progressive--would be too partisan at a time when they felt compromise necessary.

"Brown's a regular guy driving a truck-- he relates to everybody," said Ron Bonigli, 71, explaining his vote. "I think Warren leans way too Democrat."

Stephanie McCrummen is a national reporter for The Washington Post. Before that, she was the paper’s East Africa bureau chief. She’s also written about the suburban housing boom and education reform, among other subjects.
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