Democrat Elizabeth Warren wins Senate seat for Massachusetts

Democrat Elizabeth Warren unseated Republican Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts in one of the most heated and closely-watched campaigns of the election cycle.

Warren faced repeated ridicule from Brown over her claims of Cherokee ancestry. But in spite of her refusal to provide documentation of her heritage no elected Cherokee leaders criticized her and the Cherokee Nation refused to denounce her.

Still, the controversy is likely to remain a sore issue for Warren in her burgeoning political career. She refused to meet with prominent Indian Democrats at the party's convention as she entered the national spotlight with a high-profile speech during the event.

Warren's victory also poses an identity issue -- will she be labeled a Native American in the upcoming 113th Congress even though she is not an enrolled tribal member? Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, and Republican Markwayne Mullin, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who just won his first campaign, will be serving in the U.S. House.

Like Cole and Mullin, Warren is from Oklahoma. Cole has taken a prominent role on Indian issues and has served as a co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. Mullin has not discussed his tribal heritage or Indian issues during the campaign.

Still, the retirement of Senate Democrats who were friendly to tribes -- Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) -- leaves the chamber with plenty of room for Indian Country advocates.

Get the Story:
Elizabeth Warren beats Scott Brown in Massachusetts Senate race (The Boston Globe 11/6)
Elizabeth Warren defeats Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts (The Washington Post 11/6)
Warren Unseats Brown for Massachusetts Senate Seat (The New York Times 11/6)

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