The Democratic field challenging Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass) got thicker on Monday, with Newton Mayor Setti Warren, an Iraq War veteran, formalizing his candidacy.
As Brown deals with hometown heat from his Osama bin Laden death photos gaffe last week, Warren becomes the second prominent Democrat to announce, joining City Year founder Alan Khazei as well as lesser-known party activist Bob Massie and immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco. The primary still lacks a high-wattage contender, prompting grumblings among some Democrats that Brown, who still polls well and has said he would raise $25 million, is too imposing an incumbent.
Warren, a former aide to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), formally announced in a Monday web video, with a kickoff "service breakfast" scheduled for Tuesday morning.
"Many of you don't know me," a shirtsleeved Warren says at the start of the video, seated on the lawn of the house where he was raised. "I'm probably about as well-known as Scott Brown was at this point two years ago."
Warren doesn't shy away from going directly after Brown in the announcement video.
"I believe Scott Brown is an honorable man, but he has not been the independent voice in the Senate that so many expected him to be," Warren says, more than three minutes into the five-plus-minute announcement reel, hitting Brown on a string of votes and stances that Warren said aligned him with national Republicans.
Warren has dealt with some hometown pushback, as prominent Newtonians have argued against him trying to topple Brown while running the city. Warren, his announcement statement said on Monday, "will remain a strong, involved, and hands-on mayor throughout the Senate campaign."
One of Warren's expected strengths is his nearly yearlong tour in Iraq as a Navy intelligence specialist. Brown's long National Guard service helped him overpower heavily favored Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) last year, and last month Brown said he intended to undergo Guard training in Afghanistan this summer.