By WGBH News
May 30, 2012
SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick endorsed Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Scott Brown at a hastily called press conference in Somerville on May 30.
Originally Patrick said he would stay out of the race until after the Democrats select a nominee. Just 3 days before the party convention in Springfield, he changed his mind.
“I just feel this is just a campaign that is so critically important and that it is time for us to turn our attention to our Republican opponent,” he said.
Warren is considered the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination. But immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco does need just 15 percent of convention delegates to win a spot on the primary ballot. If she succeeds, it could create a distraction for Warren.
Patrick was questioned about whether he was trying to keep DeFranco off the ballot. He said that was not the case.
The endorsement is a bright spot in what has otherwise been a tough month for Warren, who has been dogged by the debate over whether or not she improperly identified as Native American in order to further her academic career.
At the press conference, both Patrick and Warren deflected questions about her purported Native American heritage.When a reporter criticized that response as not providing an answer, Warren retorted, "It is an answer," adding, "he reason that I’m in this race is what I have been working on for decades now. I have stood by and watched while America’s families have gotten hammered."
Patrick said, “Let me say on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth, we don’t care about that subject." Recent polls suggest that most Bay State voters are not interested in Warren's ancestry.
Reached in her car, DeFranco was undeterred.
"I'm disappointed, especially 2 days before this very big convention. But the bottom line, basically, is that endorsements are not going to win this election. This election is going to be won on the ground," she said.