Since , Newton Mayor Setti Warren has received large amounts of media attention.
But at a meeting of the city Democratic committee Wednesday night, one of Warren's prospective primary opponents told Newton Democrats that the real focus needed to be on Sen. Scott Brown and his record.
"The longer he's been in office, the more absurd I thought his votes and his comments were," Massie said. He pointed to Brown's "proud" opposition of health care reform as evidence that the Republican was not a good representation of Massachusetts voters' values, despite his perceived support and populist appeal.
"If [Democrats] think it's important, we can beat the truck. We can beat the barn jacket," he said. "Americans have an ability to look past the illusion."
The Somerville Democrat, who announced his intent to run in next year's Democratic senate primary, ran for lieutenant governor in 1994, and has worked as a minister, economist, and president of a socially active pension fund management firm. Now, he hopes the state's Democrats will give him the chance to reclaim Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat for the party.
After the information session, Newton Democrats said they were impressed with Massie.
"I thought he was inspiring," said Ellen Sheehy.
Sheehy said that she felt Massie had a chance to gain supporters in Newton, saying many voters will be upset with Warren's early departure from the city mayor's office.
"People I've talked to are upset," she said. "They feel like he hasn't fulfilled his promise to the city of Newton."
During the meeting, Massie proposed a pledge to keep the Democratic Senate primary focused on Brown, so that the party could unite behind whichever candidate emerged from the race without the prospect of a damaging primary battle.
In prepared remarks, Massie said he would fight for Democratic values, and work to guarantee every resident a good home, school, doctor, and job.
"All those things are under attack, both in theory and in practice," by the Republican leadership.
Massie spoke briefly of his personal history, which has been defined by a lifelong struggle with hemophilia that resulted in liver disease. He was given a clean bill of health after a liver transplant in 2009, but still walks with a cane because of problems in his left knee.
Don Quinn agreed Massie was a good candidate, and hoped he would make good on his promise to be bold.
"He didn't really articulate a strategy for going after Brown, but it's good he wants to focus on him," Quinn said. "It was really exciting that he's got so much enthusiasm."
However, Quinn felt that "unfortunately," Warren would likely get the party's nomination.
"Setti knows how to run a campaign, and he's got the official imprimatur of the party," he said.