Massachusetts: Dem Alan Khazei to exit US Senate race

Democrat Alan Khazei planned to end his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, his campaign confirmed on Wednesday, a move that increases the likelihood that Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren will emerge as the Democratic challenger to Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.

Khazei, the co-founder of the nonprofit City Year youth program, was scheduled to make the official announcement on Thursday, campaign spokesman Scott Ferson said.

“The reality is that the dynamic of the race is very different than what he expected,” Ferson said. “He doesn’t see a path to victory.”

Khazei’s decision marks a sharp reversal from just a little more than a week ago, when he told the Associated Press that he was committed to staying in the race despite Warren’s fundraising success and her surge in the polls.

But Khazei also expressed frustration at the time with unnamed party insiders who he felt were trying to clear the Democratic field so that Warren would not have to face a primary contest next September. Massachusetts Democratic Party officials did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Wednesday.

Khazei had raised more than $1.3 million in campaign contributions since the beginning of the year, and had about $750,000 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

Warren raised $3.1 million in the period between Aug. 16 and Sept. 30, and recent polls had shown her emerging as the front-runner in the Democratic race.

Khazei had also run for the Senate in a special election following the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2009. He finished third in a four-way Democratic primary that was won by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Coakley was then upset by Brown in the January 2010 special election.

Three other lesser-known Democrats remain in the race: State Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland; immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco of Salem; and Newton resident Herb Robinson.

All vowed Thursday to remain in the race.

“I’m in it for the long haul. I’m a different kind of candidate running a different kind of campaign,” DeFranco said. “I had planned on it being a long race and haven’t been spending money quickly so I don’t have any plans on dropping out at this point,” Robinson said.

Conroy also said he had no plans to withdraw and looked forward to a “competitive primary.”

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