Khazei to seek Massachusetts Senate seat

BOSTON Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:46am EDT

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Democrat Alan Khazei, co-founder of the national service program City Year, said on Tuesday he will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Senator Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate race in Massachusetts.

Khazei, 49, announced his campaign via Twitter, with a message to followers that read, "It's official, I'm in."

"We have to grow our economy, create new jobs, and expand opportunity for the middle class," Khazei said in a message on his official campaign site.

Khazei mounted a losing bid in 2009 to win the Democratic nomination and with it the chance fill the shoes of the late Senator Edward Kennedy.

He finished third in the primary, with 13 percent of the vote. The primary winner, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, was upset by Brown in a January 2010 special election.

Thus far, no Democratic contender has emerged as a front-runner to take on the popular freshman senator and his already substantial financial war chest in 2012. Khazei is just the third to announce intentions.

Brown has carved out a niche as a moderate Republican who sometimes breaks with his party's positions. A Suffolk University poll in early April showed 55 percent of state voters said Brown deserved to be re-elected.

Khazei has a law degree from Harvard and has served on the boards of several national non-profit organizations.

Bob Massie, an activist from Somerville, near Boston, and Marisa DeFranco, an immigration attorney from Middleton, Massachusetts, have also announced their candidacies.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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