Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, who said that she will make a formal decision about challenging Republican Sen. Scott Brown shortly after Labor Day, formed an exploratory committee earlier today, bringing the potential number of Democrats hoping to unseat Edward M. Kennedy’s unlikely successor to eight.
The Harvard University law professor and former chair of the five-member TARP Oversight Committee who had been tasked with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — an agency most progressives had hoped she would lead — has been urged by many top national Democrats to join the crowded U.S. Senate primary field for several months.
Prior to Warren’s announcement of an exploratory committee, party leaders had feared that none of the existing candidates possessed the kind of name recognition to effectively challenge Brown, who stunned the political establishment early last year by defeating Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election to replace the late Kennedy. Kennedy held the seat from 1962 until his death two years ago this week.
The seven declared Democrats already in the race include Newton Mayor Setti Warren, philanthropist Alan Khazei, immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco, environmentalist activist and former lieutenant governor candidate Robert Massie, state Rep. Tom Conroy, attorney Jim King and long-shot hopeful Herb Robinson, a Cornell-educated electrical engineer and software consultant from Newton.
The 50-year-old Khazei, the son of an Iranian-American surgeon, is making his second try for Kennedy’s seat.