SPRINGFIELD -- The two Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican Scott Brown for his US Senate seat told delegates at the state convention Saturday that they would need a tough candidate unafraid to take a punch.
Marisa DeFranco, the long-shot trying to win 15 percent of the delegates for a spot on the primary ballot, gave what may have been her last pitch if delegates decide not to let her move on.
Warren’s political advisers lowered expectation as the convention date approached, telling the media that they expected DeFranco would win enough delegate support for a spot on the ballot. They pointed to the fact that no candidate in a two-way race has ever failed to make the 15 percent mark since the rule went into effect in 1982.
But her organization worked hard to swell the number of delegates who would come to the event, raising the bar for DeFranco to reach the 15 percent level. For weeks in Warrens campaign headquarters, volunteers reached out to delegates in phone calls.
Her supporters and staff urged those who were wavering over attending the convention to get to the Springfield.
DeFranco used her speech to champion liberal values, including single-payer health care and union rights.
“Make no mistake, Scott Brown has made it crystal clear,” DeFranco said. “He is going to make this a street fight, and we need a candidate who can take a punch and come out fighting.”
Warren used her speech at the state Democratic convention in Springfield to blast Brown as a personality-driven candidate with a bad voting record who is trying to turn the race into an attack on her family.
“His answer is to talk about anything except how he votes on jobs, education, the environment, oil subsidies, special deals for Wall Street,” she said about her Republican opponent. “His answer is to talk about my family and to tell me how I grew up.”
Warren’s remarks were directed at the controversy surrounding her claims to Native American heritage. She used the speech to rally supporters, many of whom are frustrated that the issue has embroiled her campaign for five weeks.
“And let me be clear: I am not backing down,” Warren said. “I didn’t get in this race to fold up the first time I got punched.”
She hit hard at Brown over a series of votes he took ranging from interest rates on student loans, Democratic sponsored job creation bills, and the environment and portrayed him as an image-driven candidate.
“Two years ago, Massachusetts sent someone to Washington who seemed like a decent guy, but boy, did he let us down,’’ Warren said. “In no time at all, he chose Wall Street over Main Street, millionaires over the middle class and big oil over big ideas.’’
“It is a long way from Ted Kennedy to Scott Brown,” she said.
“Look, I don’t care what kind of truck Scott Brown drives,” Warren said. “I don’t care how he describes himself in his TV ads. I care about how he votes.’’