King was involved in hydropower and energy conservation work before running for governor, and after serving got involved in wind power. He sold his stake in the wind company when he ran for Senate.
On the campaign trail, Democrat Elizabeth Warren told supporters she never envisioned jumping into the rough and tumble of electoral politics — let alone making the U.S. Senate the object of her first campaign.
Now the 63-year-old is preparing for the transition from the upper echelons of academia at Harvard Law School to the halls of Washington, where she will occupy the seat once held by Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
Warren was born in Oklahoma City on what she has called ‘‘the ragged edge of the middle class.’’ Her father sold carpeting and worked as a maintenance man and her mother answered phones at Sears. Her first job was waiting tables in her aunt’s Mexican restaurant when she was 13.
She became a teacher after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in 1970. Six years later she earned a law degree from Rutgers University and began a career as a law professor, going on to become a pre-eminent expert in the fields of bankruptcy and commercial law.
She came to prominence nationally following the financial collapse of 2008, when she was tapped to serve as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which authorized the U.S. Treasury to spend $700 billion to stabilize the economy.
She pushed for the creation of a new federal agency to hold the nation’s largest financial institutions accountable by protecting consumers from ‘‘tricks and traps’’ hidden in mortgages, credit cards and other products.
She then turned her sights on the U.S. Senate, announcing she would challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who won a special election in 2010 to fill the seat left vacant by Kennedy’s death.
The massively expensive race, the most costly in state history, turned harsh at times, with Brown charging that Warren had used her claims of Native American heritage to help her academic career.
The two remained neck and neck in public opinion polls until Election Day, when voters handed Warren a 54 percent to 46 percent margin over Brown, making her the first woman in Massachusetts elected to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Republican Deb Fischer’s rise from little-known rancher and state senator to Nebraska’s U.S. senator-elect completes the deeply conservative state’s move to full Republican domination — just one goal of the rock-ribbed conservative.
Fischer, 61, handed Democrat Bob Kerrey his first loss in Nebraska, handily defeating the former governor and two-term U.S. senator in a race that had been perceived as close.
Friends and political strategists have said Fischer’s success was a combination of hard campaigning in some of Nebraska’s most isolated hamlets, her appeal as a conservative rancher, and a flood of outside money that paid for relentless television ads attacking first her better-known and better-funded primary opponents, then Kerrey in the general election.
‘‘I look around this room and I see so many volunteers who helped with this campaign from the beginning,’’ Fischer said Tuesday night in her victory speech. ‘‘You folks were here for me when we weren’t given much of a chance at all. We formed a great grassroots organization, we worked hard, and, hey, we’re here today.’’
When Fischer announced her Senate campaign 16 months ago at an Omaha steakhouse, only a few dozen people showed up — mostly reporters, Fischer family members and a smattering of campaign aides. But her star power was heightened in the subsequent months.
Fischer’s colleagues in the Legislature have described her as a tough lawmaker and an unwavering advocate for her overwhelmingly rural district — the largest geographically in the state — in north-central Nebraska.
Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood, a Republican who came into office the same year as Fischer, said he could tell Fischer was ‘‘tough as nails’’ when they met during an orientation for freshman lawmakers.
‘‘It didn’t take me very long to figure out she was in it to achieve great things,’’ Flood said. ‘‘She does not back down. She does not squirm. She looks you straight in the eye to tell you what she’s going to do, and she works with people to get it done.’’
Fischer credited her win to her boots-on-the-ground campaign, in which she put 45,000 miles on her car traveling rural Nebraska during the primary campaign, and the support of popular of Republicans like Gov. Dave Heineman and U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns in the general campaign.Continued...