Can Warren avoid a primary fight?

A few months ago, no one would have predicted that Elizabeth Warren would have to battle for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate in Massachusetts.  After Republicans in the Senate blocked her nomination to the Consumer Finance Protection Board that she helped create, Warren became the darling of the Democratic cognoscenti.  She claimed to have provided the intellectual bedrock for the Occupy movement, a claim that would have created gales of laughter anywhere but Massachusetts, but in the Bay State she seemed as golden as any Kennedy.

Now, though, after several weeks of embarrassing attention for her claims to Native American ancestry for professional advancement and the exposure of alleged plagiarism, Democrats may be looking for an alternative:

Could there be mutiny occurring within the Massachusetts Democratic Party? The sentiment of discontent is not happening on John “Anchors Aweigh” Kerry’s yacht, Isabella. It is within the rank and file.

Next weekend, commonwealth Democrats are holding their annual state convention. It will be a gathering of moonbats wearing Birkenstocks and socks, union payroll patriots and limousine liberals. Although Fauxcahontas Elizabeth Warren is their anointed candidate to take on U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, state Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh is predicting that Marisa DeFranco, a Boston immigration lawyer with a mere 1200 Facebook friends, is going to get 15 percent of the delegates, allowing her to be on the September ballot. That means Sitting Duck Warren will have to face a primary.

DeFranco isn’t just sitting quietly and waiting for her 15%, either.  Her challenges to Warren for a debate have so far gone unanswered, but the Warren camp seems to tacitly admit that a primary is likely by promising debates after the state convention:

“I’ve been asking her to debate me since January, and she’s turned me down,” DeFranco told the Herald last night, adding that she’d like to spend the entire summer locked in debate, much as the Republican presidential candidates spent last fall. “Hey, I’d be happy with four (debates), but if the people want more …”

“The Republicans were debating every week,” DeFranco said, adding of the Democratic presidential rivals in 2008, “Hillary (Clinton) and Barack (Obama) did it.”

Warren campaign spokeswoman Alethea Harney said in a statement last night: “We are focused on getting ready for the Convention this Saturday. We look forward to debates and will consider them once the convention is over.”

Meanwhile, Warren still refuses to answer questions raised in last week’s Boston Globe story:

A day after closing doors on a Herald reporter’s questions, Elizabeth Warren and her campaign yesterday declined to answer questions about her purported Native American heritage and whether she supports affirmative action, instead issuing the same statement they have released whenever questioned about her minority claims.

“There are real issues middle class families are dealing with every day and that’s where Elizabeth is focused,” Warren spokeswoman Alethea Harney told the Herald. “It’s time to focus on the important issues facing Massachusetts. Republican Sen. Scott Brown is trying to distract people from his voting record for Wall Street, big oil and big increases in student loans.”

Brown spokesman Colin Reed said, “Our advice is to just tell the truth. It never looks good when candidates are running from reporters.”

If it goes to a primary, the nomination won’t be settled until September.  That puts the Democratic nominee in a tough position against a well-funded incumbent.  Republicans in Massachusetts have a significant disadvantage under normal conditions, but Warren may end up negating those with the twin scandals of this spring.  So far, she can’t break out of a virtual tie against Brown even with the large voter-registration advantage Democrats enjoy in the Bay State, and if DeFranco makes the primary ballot, she’ll have to spend some money fending off that challenge at the same time rather than focusing her attention on Brown.

If Warren can’t win the nomination outright at the convention, start looking for Democrats to try the Torricelli option.  If they sense that Warren can’t put these issues to rest, they’ll bring Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s widow, off of the bench and onto the ballot.  That would chance their fortunes considerably, both literally and figuratively, and perhaps give them their best chance to keep from losing two sure-bet Senate elections in a row.

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