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Conroy withdraws bid for Mass. Sen. Brown's seat

By Bob Salsberg
Associated Press / December 12, 2011
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BOSTON—Democratic state Rep. Thomas Conroy ended his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Monday, telling supporters it had become clear he wouldn't have the resources to compete with Elizabeth Warren for his party's nomination to face Republican Sen. Scott Brown next year.

Conroy, of Wayland, joins several other Democrats who have withdrawn since Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate, entered the race and quickly raised more than $3 million in campaign funds.

Conroy began his campaign last summer by walking 650 miles across Massachusetts and earlier this month presented a five-point plan to create jobs.

During a news conference Monday in front of the Statehouse, Conroy said he entered the race to unseat Brown, not to run against Warren, "but her name recognition, her financial resources and her ability to energize thousands of volunteers have closed my window of opportunity to compete against (Brown)."

Conroy endorsed Warren, though he had previously criticized her for not unveiling a jobs program of her own.

"I think she is a very strong candidate. She is very sharp and quick on her feet; she is a very intelligent woman, and she has a great campaign team supporting her," he said.

Conroy said he would seek re-election next year in his state House district, which includes also includes the towns of Lincoln and Sudbury.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei and Robert Massie, a former candidate for lieutenant governor, have all bowed out of the Senate race in the last couple of months, citing the difficulty of keeping up with Warren's prolific fundraising and increasing popularity among voters.

A recent UMass-Lowell-Boston Herald poll of 500 registered Massachusetts voters found that 49 percent would vote for Warren and 42 percent would back Brown if they faced off in a general election that could emerge as one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country. Brown will be trying to hold the seat he won in a special election following the death of Democrat Edward Kennedy in 2009.

Conroy said he saw a window of opportunity open when Khazei withdrew to get more media exposure and raise more money, but the support didn't materialize, and he found it difficult to focus people's attention so early in the race.

Three other lesser-known Democrats remain in the race against Warren: Marisa DeFranco, an immigration attorney from Middleton; Herb Robinson, a software engineer from Newton; and James King, an attorney from Dover. For any of them to earn a spot on the September primary ballot, they would have to earn the support of at least 15 percent of the delegates to the Democratic State Convention next spring.

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