Backed by what her campaign lauded as a “grassroots effort,” Elizabeth Warren reclaimed the Senate for the Democratic Party and became Massachusetts’ first female senator.
The former Harvard professor and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau addressed the crowd of more than 750 people who filled the ballroom of Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel past capacity.
“This victory belongs to you, you did this,” Warren said in her victory speech. “You taught a scrappy first-time candidate how to get in the fight and win.”
Warren won the election with about 53 percent of the electorate.
The results mark a move back to Massachusetts’ Democratic history — prior to Scott Brown’s election in 2010, the state had been consistently represented by Democrats since 1979.
Her win also marked a transition in the Senate, in which Democrats won back seats and the majority. Republicans held the House of Representatives.
“There’s a lot of cheering in the room, I’m pretty excited,” said British citizen Cat Seagal, who traveled to the U.S. to see the election with a friend. “It’s pretty crazy with all of this happening. I’m going to need a moment.”
Although early polling by Public Policy Polling showed Warren with a lead a week after announcing her candidacy last September, Warren and her opponent, incumbent-Senator Scott Brown, ran neck-in-neck for most of the race.
Warren survived attacks on her possible Native American heritage and her work with Traveler’s Insurance on an asbestos case. She held firm, saying that Brown was trying to distract the voters from examining his voting history.
Speaking shortly before her win was announced, former Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis told the crowd that Warren was “one hell of a candidate who will make one hell of a U.S. Senator.”
But before Warren took the stage with her victory speech, Sen. John Kerry led the crowd in a round of applause for U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, saying “I’ve lost a race before, and it’s not fun.”
Warren later told the crowd that she wished Brown and his family all of the best.
During the race, Warren stressed her work for the middle class, calling it her “life’s work” during the third debate.
State Democratic Party Chairman David Walsh said in an interview Warren’s win is beneficial for Massachusetts.
“It would mean that we have a Senator that votes to keep Obamacare in place, it would mean that we would have a senator who would not hold middle class tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for people who make more than a million bucks a year,” he said.
Walsh said Warren would be a leader in the Senate if elected.
“I think she would be the kind of senator, based on the kind of campaign she ran, who would be a great constituent-serving senator,” he said.
In her official candidacy announcement last September, Warren said that the reason she decided to run was straightforward.
“Middle class families have been chipped at, hacked at, squeezed and hammered for a generation now, and I don’t think Washington gets it,” she said in the announcement video.
Creating jobs and fixing student loan debt were also a large part of Warren’s campaign. She hit Brown several times during the campaign about his votes against three jobs bills in 2011.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino reaffirmed Warren’s commitment to jobs when he formally endorsed her on Sep. 21 in Roslindale.
Warren also received endorsements from Seventh District U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama. Patrick spoke at Warren’s rally.
“Because of you, our next senator is Elizabeth Warren,” he said.