Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor and architect of the consumer watchdog agency set up by the Obama administration after the meltdown on Wall Street, was elected to the Senate yesterday, winning a hard-fought victory against Republican Sen. Scott Brown in the year’s most expensive Senate contest in the nation.
The race took on epic proportions as the candidates spent a total of more than $68 million and hurled charges and countercharges in an increasingly bitter campaign that was watched closely by both national parties while they dueled for control of the upper chamber of Congress.
Warren becomes the first woman elected to the Senate from Massachusetts.
With about 83 percent of the vote in at about midnight last night, Warren had almost 53 percent to 47 percent for Brown. An exit poll conducted by the University of Massachusetts showed that Warren won the women’s vote by 20 percentage points, while men split evenly between the candidates.
“You and I have waged a great campaign,” Brown told supporters at a Boston hotel in conceding defeat. “We stood strong in the fight, and we stand strong now even in disappointment.”
Warren, a Democrat making her first attempt at elected office, was tapped by President Obama to build the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the wake of the mortgage crisis and the financial abuses exposed on Wall Street. Brown went to Washington after stunning the Democrats by winning a 2010 special election for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat.
Brown won every community in the Merrimack Valley except for Lawrence, which Warren took in a landslide. He squeaked by in Haverhill, winning by 1,450 votes out of 27,499 cast, and won by comfortable margins in Methuen and the Andovers. In Lawrence, Warren won 15,244 to 4,092.
Sean and Jen Kelley, who voted at Tenney Grammar School in Methuen yesterday evening, said they voted for Brown because they liked the senator’s bipartisan record.