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Setti Warren to end bid for Senate

Campaign says official notice expected today

Setti Warren spoke at the Democratic State Convention in Lowell earlier this year.
Setti Warren spoke at the Democratic State Convention in Lowell earlier this year.Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff File Photo

Mayor Setti Warren of Newton, whose campaign for the US Senate was short on cash and eclipsed by the emergence of Elizabeth Warren, will announce that he is dropping out, according to an early supporter who received a phone call yesterday.

The campaign confirmed last night that Setti Warren was calling supporters and said he would make an announcement on the future of his campaign this morning.

Warren, 41, was initially seen as a potential front-runner in the Democratic field seeking to unseat Senator Scott Brown, a Republican. Warren, an Iraq war veteran, had worked for US Senator John Kerry and made an impressive initial run for public office in winning Newton’s top job in 2009. Since entering the race on May 9, he maintained a particularly busy campaign schedule, attending more than 100 events around the state.

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But many in Newton, including US Representative Barney Frank, questioned whether he was running too soon after winning his seat as mayor.

Warren also had trouble raising money. An analysis suggested that few of the donors who helped him win the mayoral election were giving to his Senate bid. By the most recent campaign finance filing deadline June 30, his campaign was in debt by $22,777.

The next fund-raising deadline is tomorrow, and political insiders have been eager to see if he could recover. Warren and other candidates in the crowded Democratic field have made last-minute pitches to donors in hope of proving their viability.

Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, has taken the spotlight since she entered the race this month, capturing attention from the Democratic establishment figures that Setti Warren had been courting. Setti Warren had already had trouble gaining name recognition outside Newton, and the name confusion with Elizabeth Warren only complicated that effort.

Other Democratic candidates said they will stay in the race. One, Bob Massie, a former candidate for lieutenant governor, said Elizabeth Warren’s entry has made fund-raising more difficult. He said there has been a rush to judgment by some party activists, particularly at the national level, to crown her the top candidate, based largely on her name.

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“There are people who are deliberately trying to clear the field, and it shows that they are having some success,’’ Massie said.

Elizabeth Warren’s spokesman declined to comment before Setti Warren’s announcement.

Candidate Thomas P. Conroy, a state representative from Wayland, joked that the debates, which begin next week, would be shorter. He vowed to stay in the race, arguing that he is best equipped to defeat Brown.

A spokesman for Alan Khazei, cofounder of a national service program, released a statement praising Setti Warren’s service. Marisa DeFranco, a North Shore attorney, and Herb Robinson, a software engineer from Newton, are also running.

Philip W. Johnston, former state Democratic Party chairman, said Setti Warren has a bright future in politics “and I intend to do everything I can to help him.’’ But “in this race,’’ he added, “I’ll be doing everything I can to help the other Warren.’’


Globe correspondents Katherine Landergan and Colin Young contributed to this report. Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.