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Election guide: US Senate

Here’s a look at the candidates on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, with biographies reported and compiled by Globe staff and correspondents. Many candidates have also filled out a brief survey at our request.

More from the 2018 election guide:

Democrat

Elizabeth Warren. Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe

Elizabeth A. Warren

The first woman elected to the US Senate from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, 69, is the state’s senior senator and is seeking her second term. A leading progressive figure in the Democratic Party, she led the charge in 2010 to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is considered an authority on bankruptcy issues. She currently sits on the Committee on Armed Services, among others, and is one of the Senate’s most recognizable figures, evidenced by a hashtag-spawning episode last year (#LetLizSpeak), after Republican leaders silenced her on the floor for speaking out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his nomination proceedings.

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Warren, of Cambridge, quickly cut a national profile upon taking her Senate seat in 2013, and was considered for Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election. In late September, Warren acknowledged that she would take a “hard look at running for president” after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Prior to the US Senate, Warren worked as a law professor for more than 30 years, including at Harvard Law School. Before attending law school at Rutgers University, Warren was an elementary school teacher.

In your first term as US senator, what’s the accomplishment of which you are most proud? Nearly 40 million Americans have hearing loss. Most never get the hearing aids they need because tangled laws make them too expensive. So I had an idea to allow people to buy them over the counter, just like eyeglasses. I worked with Republicans, and it was signed into law last year. Instead of costing thousands of dollars, hearing aids could soon be a few hundred. It will make a real difference.

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If reelected, what are your top two priorities for your second term? Infrastructure: I will continue to bring in federal dollars like $400 million for Green Line Extension; $200 million to dredge Boston Harbor; and more for roads, bridges, mass transit, power, and flood resilience. Opioids: This crisis devastates families. My bill, the CARE Act, treats it like a critical public health emergency, delivering $100 billion over 10 years, including $119.5 million to Massachusetts.

In a closely divided chamber like the Senate, on which issues can you work with members of the other party? I’ve had over a dozen proposals signed into law by President Trump. They include helping victims of terrorism, veterans, service members, seniors and those fighting opioid addiction. Now, I’m working with Republican Cory Gardner so that states can determine for themselves the best approach to marijuana. I’ll continue to work with anyone if it means helping the people of Massachusetts.

What are the two greatest differences between you and your opponents? I believe that health care is a basic human right. And I have fought for working families, because we deserve a government that works for everyone, not just the rich and powerful. My opponent wants to take away health care from millions, and supports a $1.5 trillion tax giveaway to the super rich. He stands with Trump. I stand with Massachusetts working families.

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What’s something about representing Massachusetts in the US Senate that you didn’t know when you were first elected? Each day, I see the role Massachusetts plays as a leader and innovator. We’ve led on health care, gun control, scientific research, education, and more. We have some of the strictest gun laws in the US and one of the lowest gun fatality rates as a result. We’ve developed innovative defense work and scientific research that’s critical to keeping us safe. It’s an honor to represent the Commonwealth.

Grade President Trump on his job performance so far. Please use the A-to-F scale. F. For starters, he tried to take health care away from millions of people and has done nothing to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. We must make health care more affordable and implement real policies to prevent drug companies from jacking up costs — like letting Medicare negotiate prices.

You unexpectedly have two unscheduled hours during the campaign. Where do you go, and what do you do? Bruce and I would go for fried clams and beer at Summer Shack, followed by a walk around Fresh Pond with our puppy Bailey!

Republican

Geoff Diehl.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Geoff Diehl

Diehl, 49, has served as a state representative since 2011, representing Whitman, Abington, and parts of East Bridgewater. A native of Pennsylvania, Diehl later moved to Whitman, his wife’s hometown, and served on the town finance committee. In 2014, Diehl was a leading advocate for the ballot question that successfully repealed the law tying gas tax increases to inflation, and two years later, he served as co-chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Massachusetts. Prior to running for office, Diehl worked as an account executive at a sign company. He defeated two other Republicans and won the GOP primary for Senate with 55 percent of the vote in September.

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In your professional life, what’s the accomplishment of which you are most proud? I am proud to have led the grass-roots movement to repeal automatic gas tax hikes — saving taxpayers $2 billion. More recently, I was successful in requiring legislators to be personally responsible for sexual harassment lawsuits. Taxpayers should not have to pay for the bad behavior of legislators.

If elected, what’s the first bill/initiative that you would push through the US Senate, and how would it benefit state residents? I have developed plans to help veterans, revive the fishing industry, and fight the opioid epidemic. I’ll file legislation to address these problems and help Massachusetts businesses including repealing the medical device tax.

In a closely divided chamber like the Senate, on which issues can you work with members of the other party? The problem with DC is the poison partisanship. We need a senator focused on assisting instead of resisting. My priorities will be fighting the opioid epidemic, helping our veterans, reviving our fishing industry, strengthening public safety, growing the economy and jobs, making health care affordable and accessible, securing our borders and most importantly putting Massachusetts first.

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What are the two greatest differences between you and your opponents? I’ll be focused on Massachusetts. I believe our state deserves a full-time senator not a part-time senator, part-time author and part-time presidential candidate. I’ll support our police. I’m proud to have 14 police associations and unions endorsing me. They’re supporting because they know I’ll have their back unlike Senator Warren who called the criminal justice system racist from “front to back.”

Grade President Trump on his job performance thus far. Please use the A-to-F scale. When it comes to the economy, he receives an A. Eighty percent of Massachusetts residents have received a tax break. We have nation-leading low unemployment and many people have received bonuses or raises. Moreover, the state has $1.2 billion in extra revenue.

You unexpectedly have two unscheduled hours during the campaign. Where do you go, and what do you do? I would visit a senior center. They always have great input and sage advice.

Independent

Shiva Ayyadurai.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Shiva Ayyadurai

Shiva Ayyadurai, 54, of Belmont, began the race in the Republican primary before last year switching to become an independent candidate. An entrepreneur, Ayyadurai holds four degrees from MIT and runs several startup companies in Cambridge. Born in Mumbai, Ayyadurai immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1970. At age 14, he claims, he invented e-mail — but his assertion is disputed by many in the tech world.

In your professional life, what’s the accomplishment of which you are most proud? I came here from India as a low-caste, untouchable/deplorable with nothing. Through hard work, public school education, and mentorship from my parents and teachers, I invented email, earned four degrees at MIT, started seven companies that created jobs across Massachusetts, and became an activist for everyday people. I am proud to be one of you: a hard worker, a problem solver, an American.

If elected, what’s the first bill/initiative that you would push through the US Senate, and how would it benefit state residents? I would submit a bill that ends the safe harbor for kickbacks given to group purchasing organizations/pharmacy benefit managers, which raise drug/supply costs in health care by a quarter trillion dollars or more yearly. My opponents are either colluding against or clueless on this issue. We could then fund real solutions to the opioid health crisis, which is devastating our state.

What are the two greatest differences between you and your opponents? First, I’m no career politician like my two opponents; my background is in complex systems theory and engineering. Governance is a complex systems problem, and I know how to solve problems. Second, I’m a real fighter for everyday people. I think independent and act independent. My opponents are fake fighters, one and the same members of the Establishment that silences everyday independents.

In a closely divided chamber like the Senate, on which issues can you work with members of the other parties? Every issue. When you think independent, you don’t care about tired old categories like Democrat/Republican, left/right, progressive/conservative. That’s not how everyday people like me get together to solve problems. I would be transpartisan, which means bringing in a new emergent beyond left and right. My idea to retool the postal service to protect our digital communications is but one example.

Grade President Trump on his job performance thus far. Please use the A-to-F scale. A++ ... because his election ripped a hole through the Establishment. He gave voice to everyday people who had been forgotten by the elite oligarchy that runs our government, media, universities, food supply, and health care. His election inspired an independent like me to represent We the People.

You unexpectedly have two unscheduled hours during the campaign. Where do you go, and what do you do? I do as I’ve always done: circulate love around my family and friends, work hard for forgotten people, and Be the Light. That’s what it means to say, Only a Real Indian Can Defeat the Fake Indian.

Informed voters make the best decisions. Sign-up to receive the Globe’s midterm election guide, with breakdowns of key local and national races, profiles of the candidates, and endorsements from our editorial board. And come back on election night, Tuesday, Nov. 6, for live results on the races and analysis from our expert political team.

More Globe coverage of the race:

Trump takes center stage in second Senate debate between Warren and Diehl

Warren and Diehl clash hard in debate

Shiva Ayyadurai: the candidate who represents our bizarre political climate

Elizabeth Warren defends decision to release DNA test

Hitting the campaign trail, Geoff Diehl pledges strong tie with Trump

Is it 2018, or 2020? Warren’s reelection contest has hallmarks of national race


The Globe’s primary guide was written by Globe correspondents Matt Stout, Marek Mazurek, Sophia Eppolito, Morgan Hughes and Jamie Halper, as well as Joshua Miller, Maria Cramer, Michael Levenson, Milton J. Valencia, Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Stephanie Ebbert, and James Pindell of the Globe staff.


It was compiled and edited by Shira Center, and produced by Christina Prignano.