Alan Khazei drops out of the MA-Sen race

This is pretty much game over, no?

Khazei spokesman Scott Ferson said the City Year co-founder will make his exit official at his campaign headquarters at noon tomorrow.

Since [Elizabeth] Warren, a Harvard Law professor and former Obama administration consumer advocate, entered the race, Khazei, 50, has struggled to raise money, and seen his political support wane.

“She has struck a chord, no doubt about it,” Khazei said in an interview this morning. “It’s definitely affected my position. So fundraising has been tougher, and in terms of attention … It’s challenging. Things have definitely shifted.”

It’s now time for the remaining candidates – all of whom are good Democrats and have a bright future in MA politics – to ask themselves whether, if Khazei saw the handwriting on the wall in terms of money and attention, should they not do the same.  Is it worth pursuing a contested primary?  Or should the party unite now behind a candidate?  I like primaries, as I’ve said many times before.  But for a primary to be worth pursuing, there has to be some realistic doubt as to the final outcome.

Recommended by judy-meredith, pablo.


29 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. To be honest, I thought

    he already had.

  2. I just this morning...

    …received an email from the campaign via the JobsThatAreLeft group indicating that they were seeking field organizers. Did something happen this afternoon to precipitate this?

  3. Unfortunate

    I can’t really blame Alan (or Setti) for dropping, all things considered, but an unchallenged nominee makes me nervous. She’s done great so far, but I have a feeling this campaign will be nasty.

  4. I hope some candidate(s) stay(s)

    “I like primaries, as I’ve said many times before. But for a primary to be worth pursuing, there has to be some realistic doubt as to the final outcome.”

    I actually disagree with that. Even if the final outcome seems very predictable, there’s still value in a primary. For one thing, it’s never 100% certain. If something really unexpected happens and the leading candidate has to drop out or is no longer able to run, or we suddenly learn some big secret that makes them unelectable, it’s good to have a real alternative who’s actually been running, interviewed, etc., and is prepared to wage a campaign.

    But assuming that doesn’t happen – because it’s very unlikely – even a “sure thing” election for the leading candidate is not actually a sure thing if they don’t try. Someone who’s supposed to easily win but doesn’t wage a real campaign, can face a surprise loss to a candidate who didn’t have a chance but really tried. Which means that having an actual opponent or two makes the leading candidate, however great they are, have to organize for real. Even if doing so means a near-certain win, it still means they have to do it. Having been through a few of these, I believe they make the campaign far better prepared for the general election – not just the leadership, but the many volunteers who gain some experience with an actual election day.

    When you have a campaign where multiple candidates are actively campaigning, even if one of them is nearly certain to win and the others have little shot, you still have multiple campaigns doing lots of events and vying for media attention, and the public gets some of the benefits of a primary as well.

    Granted, it’s not at all the same thing as a very competitive primary. But it’s certainly better than no real primary at all.

    Obviously I understand why a candidate who feels they cannot win wouldn’t want to run, and I’ve said this before. So I don’t blame Khazei for dropping out, any more than I blamed Massie and Setti Warren. Running for US Senate takes a lot of time and energy and overwhelms the candidates lives, and they don’t have a responsibility to stay in the race if they don’t think the tradeoff is worth it to them.

    But I do think it would be beneficial to *us* if some of them stay in the race.

  5. Alan needs to do some time in politics

    I worked hard for Alan 2 years ago, and felt he was the right candidate for the time. But I also felt he needed to do some time in local and state-wide politics. Against Coakley he was definitely the better choice – he had the energy to appeal to the generation which we need to draw into the political process in MA. But Warren is shaping up to be both an attractive and a different kind of pol. And (I hope fortunately) she has the party behind her, although that was the kiss of death for Coakley.

    So I’m not disappointed that Alan has decided to save his pennies and I hope he’s also decided to work with the party and with Warren to lead MA democrats into a much cleaner and more honest future.

  6. I agree with Yvonne Abraham


    Don’t get me wrong, I’m also excited about Elizabeth Warren. But I also haven’t really had much satisfaction on some of my concerns.

    We now have an untested candidate, who’s never been through a campaign, and never had to maintain the kind of message discipline a good candidate has to have for months and months on end. Yvonne is totally right:

    Warren has never run for office before. She is capable of rookie mistakes – witness this week’s flap over her politically silly comment, reported in The Daily Beast, that she “created much of the intellectual foundation’’ for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    Please spare me with the “blame the media… out of context” crap. She said a stupid thing, she looks arrogant and a little out of touch, whether it’s true or not.

    Here’s an important trip down memory lane. The 18 months the untested Deval Patrick had on the trail allowed Reilly and Gabrielli to throw everything but the kitchen sink at him, and gave him a chance to develop thick skin and learn how to parry back. He was so much stronger by September, 2006, and Healy had nothing left to go at him with other than Ben LeGuerre.

    Elizabeth Warren may arrive at September 2012 with more money than she would have otherwise, and she can fully set her sights on Scott Brown starting today. But we won’t really know what we have for a candidate for another year. I hope she builds up one hell of a grassroots organization to inoculate her from that onslaught. I fear that those who worked to clear the field in the guise of helping their candidate may have actually harmed her more.

    • Who is that?

      ” I fear that those who worked to clear the field in the guise of helping their candidate”

      Waitaminnit, who are you referring to here? Have you seen any evidence you can point us at, or got any reason you can explain, to believe that there are people “working to clear the field in the guise of helping their candidate”?

      It sounds like a reckless accusation to me, but maybe I’ve missed something.

  7. So her first election ever

    will be the general election? That seems like a brilliant idea.

    For most of this fall, Warren has been criticized for being the hand-picked choice of the Party insiders. “Nonsense!” we heard, “we have this thing called primaries in which the voters get to choose the nominee.”

    It isn’t all that big a deal that one particular candidate (who I couldn’t pick out of a crowd of two) is dropping out. It is a big deal that each of the other candidates is dropping out, one by one (Massie, Warren, Khazi) and remaining candidates are now apparently under some pressure to do so as well. Which means that Warren has been chosen by party bigwigs, and the primary is a fait accompli.

    That also means that, six weeks or so ago, when porcupine and E clipper criticised Warren for being a party establishment candidate, they were correct.

    • From the perspective of candidates

      who are not Liz Warren, this is an opportunity to introduce themselves to a statewide audience and build a base from which to seek other office. Lt Gov anyone?

      Khazie does not need to do that and risks Stassenizing himself if he continues to run and not win. He does not owe us any more blood sweat and tears than he has already spent.

      From Warren’s perspective, and ours, I agree that this is too bad–that everyone would benefit from a real primary for reasons already stated.

      But I suggest that she is unusually qualified for this moment in history, perhaps uniquely so. That is the basis for her extraordinary appeal. Few politicians run on such a foundation.

    • Correct In What Sense?

      The way the term “party establishment” is understood in Masschusetts, people think first of Beacon Hill or perhaps a city political machine. Whatever you can say for/against Warren she is absolutely not a creature of Beacon Hill.

      There was a lot of time for someone from Beacon Hill to throw his/her hat into the ring with the line that Liz Warren is someone DC is pushing and that he/she is a better voice for the state and how dare DC dictate our nominee etc.
      Heck there still is at some level; people with 4-year offices don’t even need to risk their seats.

      Khazei has a future as a possible Barney Frank successor if things go right for him, although his talents might be of more use in an executive-type capacity rather than as one of many legislators.

      • Correct in the sense

        that they pointed out, late last summer, that Candidate Warren was a creature of a few party insiders, rather than from some groundswell among voters.

        Maybe these guys chose well, but the fact seems to be that the Democratic nominee was effectively selected by a few, rather than by the many.

        • which reality is that from?

          It seems obvious that Warren’s candidate is began with a groundswell of support among voters. There was a draft warren movement, people pledged lots of donations and volunteer hours, huge numbers signed up for her mailing list before she even declared, huge numbers of small donations poured in as soon as she did declare, hundreds of people showed up at early volunteer events (I’ve been on a lot of campaigns and I really haven’t seen anything like this this far out from an election, not even for presidential candidates who weren’t already president), etc., etc. So where does this silly idea that she was “a creater of a few party insiders” even come from? It’s certainly not credible.

    • Martha Coakley was an

      establishment candidate, chosen for her pedigree and connections, not her ability to campaign.

      Elizabeth Warren is something different. Yes, she has the backing of Washington. But she also has two big advantages independent of the party establishment: name recognition and connections. People have heard of her and she can raise money.

      The other candidates may be or have been effective senators, but they lacked effective organizations, politic experience to run a campaign, and the ability to respond to her entering the race. We’ve talked about their errors already–the anti-Warren stuff, Tom Conroy’s walk across the state before he even had a website. These folks lacked what was needed to run themselves.

  8. Are people like CMD...

    …privy to conversations at party HQ or able to read John Walsh’s mind? Just because other candidates are dropping out does not mean they were pushed, though I personally would have prefered they stay in. John Walsh has said here on BMG that he would not participate in any meeting the object of which would be to edge other candidates out so we can unite behind a candidate early. Elizabeth Warren has set records in early fundraising and turnouts at house parties and volunteer meetings. The latter two at least (since I don’t know how her funding sources break down) are clear evidence that PEOPLE are excited about this particular candidate. So yes, we do have primaries, but it’s neither the voters’ nor the party’s fault if we don’t have more candidates.

    • I See Activists Filling A Vacuum

      Warren would have had an uphill primary battle against a few candidates who declined to run. Rep. Capuano and Lt. Gov. Murray are two that spring to mind immediately.

      Pretty much anyone in the House delegation could have throw his/her hat in there; that wouldn’t have been a good idea for many of them for various reasons but any of them would have been “establishment” compared with Warren. There was speculation about several figures that went on for months.

      • Why yes

        If the party bigwigs had selected a different candidate, then that candidate would have been the establishment candidate.

        And if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon, etc.

  9. I'm looking forward to Warren debating that wacky engineer guy.

    Why should the Republicans get all the fun with their kooks?

  10. And of course, WHY folks are jumping in for Warren remains mostly an unknown

    Except for those who said “I have been familiar with her consumer oriented work for years” or “I think she can beat Scott Brown” or just “look how much support Warren has”.

    Those three reasons don’t make the sell for me so I am no longer interested in putting time and money into the primary as I don’t actually have a surplus of either.

    • Time and money into Occupy Everything is BETTER than the primary

      I support Elizabeth Warren because I think the vision and agenda that she’s been pursuing for YEARS has manifested itself, in one of its forms, as the Occupy Everything movement. While I understand that there are some who hate phrases like “intellectual foundation” (those for whom “Harvard” is an epithet), nevertheless I think that she simply spoke truthfully when she said that helped lay the intellectual foundation for Occupy Everything — I think that’s why her videos figure so prominently in the movement’s viral culture.

      I therefore encourage you, most strongly, to continue working for and promoting the Occupy Everything movement. You provide a great service to the movement and to all of us by doing so, and that’s an enormously valuable contribution in and of itself.

      In my view, advancing the Occupy Everything agenda is far more important than any single election or campaign. As vital as it is to unseat Scott Brown (and I think it is crucial), he is just one Senator — we need to move the entire government, Democrats and Republicans alike.

      In my view, an attribute of a successful movement is that it is relatively easy to discern (especially from inside the movement) whether someone is “one of us” or “not one of us”. I KNOW that Scott Brown is most assuredly not one of us, and I KNOW that Elizabeth Warren is one of us.

      That’s enough to get my vote.

  11. Why Amberpaw hasn't jumped in for Warren remains unknown to me.

    For anyone who is such a big follower and supporter of the Occupy movement, the direct connection to Warren’s candidacy should be obvious. I’m no bandwagon person myself, but precisely because of her pro-consumer, anti-bank history she is the right candidate at the right moment. It’s one thing to have gotten on board early for someone else – I can respect that. I can also respect if you had a second choice who is still in the race who has moved up to being your first choice. However, it seems like your bitterness is rendering you wilfully ignorant of the many good things about this particular candidate which has made her so attractive to so many people.

    • Christopher, wrong on all counts

      First, I take your post as a personal attack. I am entitled to support, or not support, whom I choose. Whether you choose to label the reality that I am interested in multiple issues unimportant is your choice and, I think, your problem. Deciding you can read my mind and my choice results from “bitterness” is a boundary violation, and frankly a kind of invasive, over bearing crystal ball gazing. I thought you were better than that. There is no better way to keep me on the sidelines than this kind of pushy, rude, public dressing-down. You have no right, authority, or credibility to make these kinds of statements or think you can read my mind.

      I have not – and am not – saying anything negative about EW. I am not “wilfully ignorant” and it makes no difference to me how many people find her attractive – kind of like my kids saying to me, “But Mom, all the other parents are doing it.” That is not the way I make decisions.

      I will not be rushed. I will not be pushed. Being pressured generally has no positive effect on someone with my personality profile; it not only doesn’t work it is counter-productive. If you had something like this to say to me, besides, you have my email address, you have my phone number, you should have done so one to one and privately. Think about how YOU would feel were your thought processes & personality publicly denigrated in this fashion! You do your candidate no favors in this fashion.

      And I do not think that, in fact, you have any idea what I am thinking or why I do not care to jump in to this primary. You don’t know what my workload, finances, or family situation are.

      I will support my party’s candidate once the primary is over – I do not consider putting time and energy into this primary at this time a wise, appealing, or appropriate use of my time. Were I to support anyone now it would probably be Marisa DeFranco who has marched with Occupy – or possibly Tom Conroy who has solid legislative experience and gets the issues around Separation of Powers, indigent defense, foster care, etc. – and both of these folks have engaged me in open, respectful, multi-issue dialogue.

      In fact, while you waded in without bothering to talk with me privately in what I view as a very disrespectful, over bearing way I am having discussions and making up my mind in my own way.

      • Spoken like a wizened

        informed, intelligent and passionate citizen activist with principles and spunk!

      • With one exception,

        I agree with everything AmberPaw has said. She, like every other voter, has every right to take as much time as she wants to decide whom to support, or to support no one in the primary. And that process is really nobody else’s business. Christopher’s comment was well out of line, as I think he now recognizes. It can be easy to forget that the same thing said on a blog comes across very differently than it would in a face-to-face conversation, so it’s a good idea to keep that fact in mind before you click “submit.”

        My only quibble with Amber’s comment is this: “I have not – and am not – saying anything negative about EW.” That, I would respectfully suggest, is a stretch – there are numerous examples stretching back months, which I don’t really feel like digging out right now, but many of which centered on Warren’s Harvard affiliation. But that’s a minor point, since there is nothing wrong with saying “negative” things about candidates for public office, as long as they are constructive and otherwise adhere to our rules. We want vigorous discussion here about issues important to the netroots, and what is more important in MA right now than figuring out who our best Senate candidate is?

  12. In response to Amberpaw

    (still can’t reply to comments correctly)

    OK, apologies for offending, really. I never intended for you to take my comments quite so harshly. We have of course discussed this some in person, but I do remain confused. I’m not at all questioning your interest or ability to put a lot of time into a candidate so much as questioning your questioning of others’ enthusiasm. I’m glad you are interested in multiple issues and hope that you will ask the candidates about those issues at the various fora as I agree that those issues are important as well. So no, I will not ask you to jump on board just because everyone is doing it, but it does feel like you are trying to find reasons not to like her. Nor do I pretend to read your mind, only your words, but again the offense was not intended.

  13. There's more to politics than managing markets

    I’m not all certain that “the direct connection” between OWS and Warren is as obvious as Christopher makes it out to be. And if it is that obvious, I’d like EW to come out even more directly in support, and cut the “protesters have to obey the law!” crap she keeps pushing to appeal to Herald readers. Instead, as the Globe reported,

    … Warren’s relationship with the Occupy Wall Street movement has been hard to pin down. She has embraced it to the extent that it comports with her message. Yet she has been careful to avoid public images of herself among the tents and has stopped short of taking the protesters’ side during occasional clashes with police.

    Warren has visited the tent city in Boston just once, without advertising it on her public schedule, avoiding television cameras in a highly unpredictable environment…

    The line about not taking the protesters’ side speaks volumes after Oakland. Intellect isn’t enough. And, yes, I’m well aware that OWS isn’t going to play well everywhere. But just to have to say that, personally, I don’t like the pussyfooting around with it. Stand with the protesters or stand down. I’ll understand if she chooses to do the latter, but trying to have it both ways is going to both disappoint those who veer relatively hard left AND turn off the mainstream who are apt to be horrified at her aligment with the dirty crustpunks. In the current environment, I don’t know that endless triangulation is going to be a winning strategy.

    Furthermore, OWS is about a lot more than simply creating some new regulations around the banking industry. In this context, I found Warren’s comment ““I was a Republican, because I thought that those were the people who best supported markets. I think that is not true anymore” really unnerving. I’m not decrying her past: it’s a legitimate stance, if you base your entire political identity on market management. But was she really willing to sell out on apartheid, gay rights, AIDs, etc etc just because she felt Republicans were better at managing the market? Kinda cold, if you ask me. I have no problem with her past–heck, I was until recently a Green–but I have a serious problem with her reducing politics to markets. And OWS gets that, too.

    Of course, when it comes to the economy, no one (with any sense) will dispute either her acumen or her compassion. And only a fool would suggest that the economy isn’t just issue #1 right now, but is in a league of its own. Ms Warren has every right to make that the focal point of her campaign, and, I, too, have had reveries abour her debating Senator Brown on the same. But there are other issues at stake–and Ms Warren can be a bit wishy-washy on a few of them. There was that little business about stripping US-born citizens of their citizenship, her saber-rattling on Iran, etc. And her listed priorities–which do not include civil liberties, single payer healthcare, ending the wars, or cutting defense–leave me wondering. Her priorites are apparently not mine–that, or she doesn’t get the connection between the need for single payer and ending the wars and the economy she wants to save. Again, OWS is about the systemic issues, and the fact that mainstream politicians don’t seem to get them.

    I’m not wholly unhappy. But wondering. I certainly haven’t heard enough to cast my lot in with her simply because she raise scads of money. Many of her positions may accord very well with mine, indeed. And at the moment, no, there isn’t much “doubt as to a realistic outcome.” But this moment isn’t election eve. We have months to introduce BOTH Ms Warren–and Ms DeFranco (and Rep Conroy)–to voters who by and large aren’t paying a whole lot of attention yet. June will be here soon enough, no?

    I believe that no matter who we support, we owe to the other candidates to hear them out. The intro to the Tom Conroy piece above seems subtly skeptical that he’ll will hang in; I’d rather take each at their word. And I’d like to hear about more than managing the markets: one reason I’ll really miss Bob Massie is because he could talk passionately and intelligently about climate change. Ms Warren could have learned from him. And she’ll learn plenty about immigration and other issues from the expertise provided by Marisa DeFranco. That’s the kind of education that can shape a candidate’s platform. (Marisa can also answer any questions Ms Warren may have about OWS. She was marching with us and standing out the cold at Dewey Square at 11 at night this past Saturday. Now that’s a “direct connection!”)

    It’s also worth taking into account that while the liberal cognoscenti are deeply familiar with EW’s thinking on economics, we haven’t heard enough on a raft of other issues. To my minds, Lowell raised more red flags than it did comfort me. Others will disagree–which is fine. But no reason to slam the barn door shut. A primary campaign, replete with debates, will ensure that we will hear more from a front-runner than what a tightly-controlled establishment campaign may necessarily want us to–and more from some other candidates with bright political futures ahead of them as well.

    So I’m hoping we stop asking whether the others should drop out and give them the time of day–and give those of us for whom THEY speak some small part in this process. Make it debate about issues, not about who belongs in and out.

    Should Ms Warren be the nominee come next September, she’ll have my sword. There will no shame in supporting her. But until then, allow those of us with different issues and perspectives to champion our own tribunes, and not simply declare it a done deal.

  14. To michaelhoran

    More recently EW has gone so far as laying the intellectual foundation for OWS, a comment which also brought her criticism. For me the similarity between her work and the OWS message is being anti-big finance.

    I just want to say for the record that I am dismayed by the quick exits of candidates even as I am starting to settle on EW myself. Setti Warren and Bob Massie were probably my two strongest considerations before EW entered the race, but now they of course are gone. I also want to note how quickly the GOP presidential race changes. Bachmann, Perry, and now Cain have enjoyed “flavor of the month” status, the first two on the heals of announcing their entries to the race. Trump polled well when he was teasing about getting in too as I recall. Point is that EW entered and surged in the polls overnight which tends to happen, but she could have just as easily dropped into the range of everyone else after a while if the other candidates had stuck it out.

    • Each candidate is a real PERSON

      You wrote:

      Point is that EW entered and surged in the polls overnight which tends to happen, but she could have just as easily dropped into the range of everyone else after a while if the other candidates had stuck it out.

      I fear you forget that candidates and their audiences are real people, not just poll numbers and news leads. Rises and falls in polls are not random events caused by cosmic rays.

      Michelle Bachmann and Donald Trump got poll bumps because the mainstream media manufactured them. When REAL audiences got a glimpse of the REAL Michelle Bachmann and the REAL Donald Trump, those real people fled in horror. Elizabeth Warren, in stark contrast, has become more and more popular as her REAL audiences meet the REAL Elizabeth Warren.

      Elizabeth Warren, like the rest of the candidates, may make blunders, and those blunders may raise or lower her standings in various interim polls. I remain confident that, in the end, the poll that matters happens in a voting booth and is NOT random.

      I think that second-guessing the decisions of candidates to enter or leave the primary race is unhelpful. I don’t see any “tightly-controlled establishment campaign” from anybody, and I think there are far more important issues at stake in this election.

      I think it’s time to move on and focus on defeating Scott Brown and the Tea Party/GOP agenda.

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