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Khazei announces Senate run, saying he’ll fight interest groups

CRITICIZING THE STATUS QUO In an online video announcing his candidacy, Alan Khazei says politics as usual is “designed for a time long gone by.” CRITICIZING THE STATUS QUO
In an online video announcing his candidacy, Alan Khazei says politics as usual is “designed for a time long gone by.”
By Noah Bierman and Brian C. Mooney
Globe Staff / April 27, 2011

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Alan Khazei has officially declared he is running for the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Republican US Senator Scott Brown.

On his website, through Twitter, and on Facebook, the cofounder of City Year sent out the same message yesterday.

“It’s official,’’ he wrote. “I’m in.’’

A 2 1/2-minute announcement video posted on his website offered a more detailed look at his campaign themes.

“As I’ve traveled across our state, I’ve heard from many people who are concerned that opportunity is drying up, that the American dream is in trouble and the system is failing too many Americans,’’ Khazei said in the video. “It’s stacked in favor of powerful special interests and designed for a time long gone by.’’

Last week, Khazei said he was still mulling over the idea of taking on Brown, who was elected to succeed one of his mentors, the late Edward M. Kennedy, in a 2010 special election.

In 2009, Khazei ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for that seat, finishing in third place with 13 percent of the vote, just ahead of Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen G. Pagliuca. Attorney General Martha Coakley won the Democratic nomination and was famously defeated by Brown.

Democrats have had trouble so far luring a candidate with significant name recognition to challenge Brown in 2012. Khazei is the third member of his party to officially enter the race, following Bob Massie, a former lieutenant governor nominee, and Marisa DeFranco, a Salem immigration lawyer.

One current member of the delegation, Representative Richard Neal of Springfield, branded Brown hard to beat during a weekend appearance on WCVB-TV’s “On the Record.’’

“One of the things that I think that Senator Brown is doing at the moment is he’s shedding the image of being a real hard-line conservative and he is paying great attention, as is Barack Obama, to the role that the suburban independent voter plays now in the outcome of elections,’’ Neal said.

Khazei begins his campaign in a financial hole, however.

Citizens for Alan Khazei’s latest report to the Federal Election Commission for the last quarter shows the committee owes vendors and individuals, including his younger brother, Lance Khazei, more than $75,000 from his unsuccessful run in 2009.

Of the $190,217 in debt outstanding, nearly $115,000 is personal loans Khazei made to the campaign.

Nick Clemons, a Khazei campaign spokesman, wrote in an e-mail: “I’m sure he paid off all his staff. There are some vendors he still owes, but he’s worked out timetables to pay them back and intends to do that [as soon as possible].’’

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com, Brian C. Mooney at bmooney@globe.com.