WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday launched her campaign for a third term, seizing on the same issues that set the stage for her political rise in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
“I first ran for Senate because I saw how the system is rigged for the rich and powerful and against everyone else. I won because Massachusetts voters know it, too,” Warren said in a video made public Monday morning. “And now I’m running for Senate again because there’s a lot more we’ve got to do.”
The 2.5-minute video, which depicts the 73-year-old Democrat as a lively policy wonk, highlights themes that have animated her political career in recent years, with calls for a wealth tax on billionaires and investments in child care — an issue she was set to highlight Monday morning with an official visit to a child care center.
But, with bank failures and economic uncertainty dominating the headlines, she signaled that her push for stronger financial regulations — one that has at times put her at odds with fellow Democrats and members of the Biden administration — as a key part of her next campaign.
“Oh, and like I’ve been saying for years,” Warren says, over footage of herself on television well over a decade ago, “put stricter rules on banks so they don’t crash and hurt working people.”
The announcement should end the parlor game of speculation about Warren’s political future that has persisted in the state’s political circles even though she has said for years that she intends to run again. It will be her first time on the ballot in Massachusetts since her humbling third-place finish in the state’s 2020 presidential primary.
No serious primary challengers have announced their intention to take Warren on, and the state Republican Party, which has been beset with infighting and anemic statewide performances in recent years, has yet to surface a serious candidate. Though Warren is a prodigious fund-raiser for her party, her coffers were thinner than some of her Democratic colleagues’ at the end of last year, with $2.3 million cash on hand. That’s less than senators such as Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, as well as some her of colleagues in the House, including Representative Richard Neal, the ranking member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and Representative Jake Auchincloss of Newton.
The announcement features some of her closest allies — and biggest stars — in the state’s progressive political ecosystem, amounting to a muscular show of support for the two-term incumbent. Representative Ayanna Pressley of Boston, a former cochair of Warren’s presidential campaign who toured the state with her last fall, appeared first, followed by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who was once Warren’s law student.
Senator Ed Markey of Malden, who beat back a primary challenge in 2020 from former representative Joe Kennedy III with the energetic support of young voters in the state, rounded out the trio.
“I have seen this perpetual energy machine up close,” Markey said, who said Warren achieved success in raising corporate taxes and in “making billionaires cry on TV.”
The video touts some of her accomplishments, like a law she pushed to make hearing aids cheaper and her months-long effort to lobby President Biden to cancel student loan debt (it does not acknowledge, however, that his executive action to do so is tied up in court).
Warren, a former Harvard Law professor who was born in Oklahoma, drew attention in Washington in 2005 by fighting efforts to make it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy. She cemented her status as a liberal firebrand after the 2008 financial crisis by pushing for tougher regulations and helping to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the Obama presidency.
She won her Senate seat in 2012, defeating Republican Scott Brown in an expensive and bitter Senate showdown. After easily winning reelection in 2018, Warren launched a run for the presidency in 2020 that sputtered out after Super Tuesday. Warren has since cultivated close ties with the Biden administration that she has used to secure nuts-and-bolts policy wins. She says she plans to support Biden’s reelection campaign in 2024.
Fresh off her announcement Monday, Warren made a stop at the Nurtury Center, in Boston’s Mission Hill, to highlight her work on the issue of child care, where she eagerly crouched on the floor with kids ages 2 to 5 to play with magnets, play-doh, and a set of giant, rubbery insects.
“Ewwww!” she exaggerated, hands up, as one child waved a creature with particularly large pincers toward the senator’s face. “I LOVE the bugs,” she added a moment later.
And she commiserated with the center’s leaders, who lamented the shortage of child care workers, telling Warren they had had to consolidate locations because of insufficient staff.
Warren, who has long made child care a top issue, told reporters “a lot has changed” in the years since she first ran for office, namely an increase in federal funding.
But there’s a great deal more to do, she said.
“We need to make it not a year by year by year by year fight,” Warren said. “We need to switch so that this is just part of what’s built into the federal budget long term, in the same way that we invest in roads and bridges, in the same way that we invest in Medicare.”