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New Elizabeth Warren video highlights conservative supporters: Her brothers

From left: David Herring, Don Herring, and John Herring were featured in a new video released by the Warren campaign.Screen capture

As Senator Elizabeth Warren makes a closing argument about her electability in the final days before the Iowa caucuses, she is turning again to a fixture of her stump speech: her brothers.

A video produced by the campaign and set to be made public Thursday shows Warren’s three much-older brothers — only one of whom is a Democrat, as she has said countless times on the campaign trail — swapping memories and offering her a bipartisan endorsement.

“I’m a registered Republican,” said David Herring, 78, wearing a striped shirt bearing the University of Oklahoma logo. “I would vote for her, of course, because I know her.”


It is not news that someone related to a presidential candidate would vote for them.

Still, the video marks the first time any of the intensely private trio — Don Reed Herring, 86, John Herring, 82, and David Herring, 78 — has spoken out publicly to aid her presidential bid, even though they figure prominently into her political pitch.

Yet they did so in an environment controlled and polished by their sister’s campaign, which has declined multiple times to make them available for an interview with the Globe, and did so again this week. The Globe obtained access to the video — and another of her nephew, a Democrat, supporting her — before the campaign made them public.

Warren has made folksy stories about her brothers a stalwart of her campaign, frequently evoking their military service and talking about their modest upbringing in Oklahoma, where they all still live. She says that they agree with at least some of her big ideas even though two are conservative, offering them up as a rejoinder to voters who worry her sweeping liberal agenda has too narrow an appeal.

But they have not spoken independently about Warren in years — David is the only one of them to have granted media interviews, and not since 2012 — so can sometimes seem like set pieces in a story only she tells.


The video, which the campaign will promote on social media and could potentially use in ads, shows Warren and her brothers gathering in Oklahoma City.

It is the latest example of the campaign’s effort to humanize Warren, who speaks often of her biography but is best known for her detailed policy plans. In recent weeks, she reworked her stump speech to allow for more organic exchanges with voters and held a campaign event in the gym at her old high school in Oklahoma City just before Christmas.

The video was shot that day. In it, her brothers greet each other cheerfully.

“You look good,” says Don Reed.

“I always look good!” said John.

They brag about Warren — “We taught her everything she knew,” David said — and vouch for her trustworthiness, which female candidates often have to work harder than men to prove.

“She is probably the most honest person I’ve ever known,” David said.

Warren’s brother John, who is a registered Democrat, says he too plans to vote for Warren.

In the second video, her nephew, Mark Herring, urges people to vote for “President Aunt Betsy.”

“Ask Donald Trump to tell you what his plan is. He doesn’t have one,” said Mark. "Elizabeth Warren has a plan.”

Warren rarely visits Oklahoma City, but she has gathered footage for political videos on at least one other trip there. In 2018, before she announced her presidential run, she went to her childhood home in Norman, Oklahoma to shoot footage for another video that also included her brothers. It ultimately revealed the results of a DNA test intended to prove her longstanding claims of having Native American heritage, but it stoked ridicule from President Trump and deep discomfort on the left, and was scrubbed last year from her campaign’s website.


In Wednesday’s video, the four siblings seemed delighted to be together.

“Thank you so much,” David said. “I’m glad you came.”

Jess Bidgood can be reached at Follow her @jessbidgood.