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United States Senate elections in Massachusetts, 2012

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2012 U.S. Senate Elections in Massachusetts

November 6 Election Winner:
Elizabeth Warren Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Scott Brown Republican Party
Scott Brown.jpg

Cook Political Report Race Rating
     Tossup (Prior to election)

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2012 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Massachusetts.png
Voters in Massachusetts elected one member to the U.S. Senate in the November 6, 2012 elections.

Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown on November 6th, 2012.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
June 5, 2012
September 6, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Massachusetts has a mostly closed primary system, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members. In Massachusetts, however, independent voters may select which party's primary to vote in.

Voter registration: Voters were required to register to vote in the primary by August 17. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 17.[2]

See also: Massachusetts elections, 2012

Incumbent: The election filled the Class 1 Senate seat, which was held by Scott Brown (R). First elected during a special election in 2010, Brown ran for re-election in 2012 and was defeated by Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

The primary election was originally scheduled for September 18 but was moved to avoid Rosh Hashanah;[3] another change of date is possible though unlikely.[4]

An October 2012 article in The Hill predicted both parties had an equal opportunity at holding control of the Senate after the November election. Specifically, three races were named that could cost the GOP control of the chamber -- Indiana, Massachusetts and Nevada.[5]


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Elizabeth WarrenGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Scott Brown Incumbent
Independent Bill Cimbrelo

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Note: Eno Mondesir initially filed but no longer appears on the official candidate list.[7]
Note: Herb Robinson is now running for U.S. House[8]. Marisa DeFranco did not win enough votes at the Democratic state convention to earn a spot on the primary ballot. [9]

Republican Party Republican primary

Independent Independent candidate

Election results

U.S. Senate, Massachusetts General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngElizabeth Warren 53.3% 1,696,346
     Republican Scott Brown Incumbent 45.8% 1,458,048
     N/A All Others 0.1% 2,159
     N/A Blank Votes 0.9% 27,643
Total Votes 3,184,196
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State "Return of Votes"

Race background

On January 19, 2010, a special election was held to fill the seat of stalwart Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who passed away about five months earlier. The result of the election was surprising, with Scott Brown, a Republican, defeating Martha Coakley (D) and Joseph L. Kennedy (L) for the post.[11] Brown is seeking full term re-election to the Class 1 Senate seat in 2012. He ran unopposed in the party's primary on September 6th, and will face Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren (D) in the general election. Warren's robust campaign war-chest, considerable name recognition, and clout among Democrats--a product of her work with the Obama administration creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau--present a formidable challenge to Brown's re-election.


The Republican effort to reclaim the majority in the Senate this year hinges considerably upon Brown's successful re-election. This fact, combined with Warren's strong showing in fundraising and polling data as of two months before the general election, indicate the race is both high-stakes and highly competitive. The New York Times' analysis of the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race rated it as a toss-up.[12]

Race rating

Cook Political Report

Each month the Cook Political Report releases race ratings for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House (competitive only) and Governors. There are seven possible designations: [13]

     Solid Democratic
     Likely Democratic
     Lean Democratic


     Lean Republican
     Likely Republican
     Solid Republican

Cook Political Report Race Rating -- Massachusetts Senate
Month Rating
November 1, 2012[14]     
October 4, 2012[15]     
September 13, 2012[16]     
August 21, 2012[17]     
July 12, 2012[18]     
May 31, 2012[19]     
May 10, 2012[20]     
March 22, 2012[21]     
March 1, 2012[22]     
January 26, 2012[23]     
December 22, 2011[24]     
December 1, 2011[25]     

Sabato's Crystal Ball

The University of Virginia's Center for Politics published an article called Sabato's Crystal Ball on March 22, 2012 detailing the 8 races in the Senate in 2012 that will decide the political fate of which party will end up with control in 2013.[26] The seat rated a a toss-up that the Sabato's Crystal Ball believes is second most likely to end up Republican, second only to Montana, is the Senate seat in Massachusetts.[26] The article notes that Scott Brown has had recent campaigning success in Massachusetts, and despite mixed polls, Brown’s "blue-collar appeal" might be enough against his opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Warren.[26]


Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren

Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren
Poll Scott Brown Elizabeth WarrenNeitherDon't knowMargin of ErrorSample Size
UMass/Boston Herald (December 1-6, 2011)
Western NE College (October 17-23, 2011)
Public Policy Polling (March 16-18, 2012)
The MassInc Polling Group (July 19-22, 2012)
Public Policy Polling (August 16-19, 2012)
Rasmussen Reports (September 24, 2012)
WBUR Massachusetts (October 21-22, 2012)
AVERAGES 44.71% 45.29% 1% 8.29% +/-4.19 645.14
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Election history


On January 19, 2010, Brown won a special election to the United States Senate. He defeated Martha Coakley (D) and Joseph L. Kennedy (L) in the special election.[27]

U.S. Senate Special Election, Massachusetts, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Brown 51.9% 1,168,178
     Democratic Martha Coakley 47.1% 1,060,861
     Libertarian Joseph L. Kennedy 1% 22,388
     Independent Write-In 0.1% 1,155
Total Votes 2,252,582


On November 4, 2008, John Kerry won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Jeffrey Beatty and Robert Underwood in the general election.[28]

U.S. Senate General Election, Massachusetts, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Kerry Incumbent 65.9% 1,971,974
     Republican Jeffrey Beatty 31% 926,044
     Libertarian Robert Underwood 3.1% 93,713
Total Votes 2,991,731

Campaign donors

According to an August 2013 Politico report, the race between Brown and Warren was the most expensive Senate race on record. Over $82 million total was spent during the cycle.[29]

Scott Brown

Scott Brown (2012)[30] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[31]March 31, 2012$12,892,256.90$3,369,239.51$(1,369,832.79)$14,891,663.62
July Quarterly[32]June 30, 2012$14,891,663.62$4,973,232.75$(4,301,246.14)$15,563,650.23
Pre-Primary[33]August 24, 2012$15,563,650.23$2,528,635.46$(3,898,452.00)$14,193,833.69
October Quarterly[34]October 15, 2012$14,193,833.69$4,952,920.67$(8,888,205.27)$10,258,549.09
Pre-General[35]October 25, 2012$10,258,549.09$1,804,304.36$(8,366,372.52)$3,696,480.93
Running totals

Brown raised $7.45 million in the third quarter and has $10.2 million cash on hand.[36]

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren (2012)[37] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[38]March 31, 2012$6,141,942.11$6,924,212.48$(21,006,195.85)$10,959,958.74
July Quarterly[39]June 30, 2012$10,959,958.75$8,674,357.15$(6,103,432.28)$13,530,883.62
Pre-Primary[40]August 8, 2012$13,530,883.62$3,738,662.97$(4,932,502.21)$12,337,044.38
October Quarterly[41]October 3, 2012$12,337,044.38$8,383,315.74$(13,434,295.79)$7,286,064.33
Pre-General[42]October 3, 2012$7,286,064.33$2,525,146.82$(6,341,901.35)$3,469,309.80
Running totals

Warren raised $12.1 million in the third quarter and has $7.3 million cash on hand. However, her lower cash on hand total is due to pre-paying for over $3 million of TV ads for the final three weeks of the campaign.[36]

See also

External links


  1. Politico "2012 Election Map, Massachusetts"
  2. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts "Voter Registration Information," Accessed July 25, 2012
  3. Massachusetts Elections Division "2012 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule," retrieved March 5, 2012
  4. OnPolitix "Primary date to stay put despite mix-up," January 5, 2012
  5. The Hill "Opinion: Republicans facing longer odds in bid to gain Senate control," October 8, 2012
  6. Huffington Post "Elizabeth Warren Senate Race," January 20, 2012
  7. Democratic primary candidates
  8. Boston Herald "Democrat Herb Robinson to drop out of Senate race to run for House," December 16, 2011
  9. MassLive "Warren knocks DeFranco off ballot" June 21, 2012
  10. Huffington Post "Scott Brown 2012 Campaign Officially Starts," January 19, 2012
  11. Elections Division, State of Massachusetts "Special Election Results, January 19, 2010"
  12. The New York Times, "2012 Ratings Senate," accessed September 17, 2012
  13. Cook Political Report "Our Accuracy," Accessed December 12, 2011
  14. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," November 1, 2012
  15. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," October 4, 2012
  16. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," September 13, 2012
  17. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," August 21, 2012
  18. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," July 12, 2012
  19. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," May 31, 2012
  20. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," May 10, 2012
  21. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 22, 2012
  22. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 1, 2012
  23. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," January 26, 2012
  24. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," December 27, 2011
  25. Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," December 1, 2011
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Center for Politics "Tilting the Toss Ups – the Eight Races That Will Decide the Senate" Accessed April 9, 2012
  27. Elections Division, State of Massachusetts "Special Election Results, January 19, 2010"
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"
  29. The Washington Post, "The most expensive Senate races ever — and where Kentucky might fit in," August 12, 2013
  30. Federal Election Commission "Scott Brown Summary Report," Accessed November 2, 2012
  31. Federal Election Commission "Scott Brown April Quarterly," Accessed August 1, 2012
  32. Federal Election Commission "Scott Brown July Quarterly," Accessed August 1, 2012
  33. Federal Election Commission "Scott Brown Pre-Primary," Accessed November 2, 2012
  34. Federal Election Commission "Scott Brown October Quarterly," Accessed November 2, 2012
  35. Federal Election Commission Scott Brown Pre-General," Accessed November 2, 2012
  36. 36.0 36.1, "Elizabeth Warren raises $12.1 million, Scott Brown $7.45 million, in latest Senate campaign quarter," October 15, 2012
  37. Federal Election Commission "Elizabeth Warren Summary Report," Accessed June 26, 2012
  38. Federal Election Commission "April Quarterly" Accessed June 27, 2012
  39. Federal Election Commission "July Quarterly" Accessed June 27, 2012
  40. Federal Election Commission "Pre-Primary," Accessed November 2, 2012
  41. Federal Election Commission "October Quarterly," Accessed November 2, 2012
  42. Federal Election Commission "Pre-General," Accessed November 2, 2012