Khazei Drops Out Of Senate Race; Olver To Retire

By WGBH News & Wires

Oct. 27, 2011

BOSTON — A Senate candidate and a Congressman have made decisions that could affect the face of Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress.

Democrat Alan Khazei has dropped out of the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race. He made the formal announcement at noon Thursday.

The decision marks a sharp reversal from just a little over a week ago, when Khazei said he planned to remain in the race despite a strong surge by fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

His spokesman, Scott Ferson, said Wednesday that the dynamic of the race is very different from what Khazei expected and he no longer sees a path to victory.

Khazei, co-founder of the City Year program, had raised about $1.3 million since the start of the year. Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, has raised more than $3 million since entering the race this summer.

Harvard Law School professor and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren said that she was surprised to learn of Khazei's decision to leave the race but it would not change her approach. She spoke after receiving the endorsement of Newton Mayor Setti Warren, another former candidate who dropped out of the race after Warren surged in the polls.

Three other, lesser-known Democrats remained in the race: State Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland; immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco of Salem; and Newton resident Herb Robinson. All vowed Wednesday to continue to campaign.

"I'm in it for the long haul. I'm a different kind of candidate running a different kind of campaign," DeFranco said.

"I had planned on it being a long race and haven't been spending money quickly so I don't have any plans on dropping out at this point," Robinson said.

Conroy also said he had no plans to withdraw and looked forward to a "competitive primary."

In addition, Democratic Congressman John Olver said Wednesday he will retire at the end of this term due to family circumstances.

"Last December, I announced that I intended to seek to continue my congressional service beyond 2012," he said in a statement. "Over the past six months, circumstances within my family have substantially changed, and I now find I must reconsider my earlier decision."

Olver represents the state's First District, encompassing most of western Massachusetts. His wife is ill with cancer.

The announcement comes as the state grapples with a redistricting process that will reduce the state's Congressional seats from 10 to nine.

"We would like to thank Congressman John Olver for his more than four decades of public service," the chairmen of the Joint Committee on Redistricting said in a statement. "This is a dramatic change, and the committee in the coming days will assess its impact on Congressional redistricting."

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Sign Up

Sign-up for WGBH News updates, WGBH promotions, and previews of what's coming up on WGBH TV.




Support for WGBH is provided by:
Become a WGBH sponsor