Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) may represent the great state of Massachusetts in Congress, but at least one of her most high-profile constituents seems to favor former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democrat nomination.
Tom Werner, the chairman of the Boston Red Sox, is a top contributor to Unite the Country, a Super PAC working to elect the former vice president. Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings released on Friday indicate Werner donated $75,000 to the group in early December. It is unclear if he has contributed more, since the FEC filing only covered the months leading up to the end of 2019.
The donation was made around the time that Warren was still riding high in the polls. In December, the senator either led Biden in most of the early states or was running neck-and-neck. Due, in part, to Unite the Country, though, Biden has rebounded in states like Iowa and now leads Warren.
Werner’s support for Biden, a well-known Philadelphia Phillies fan, may have to do with more than just politics. During Warren’s first Senate run in 2012, she committed a monumental and now infamous gaffe. During a well publicized candidate forum, Warren was unable to recollect in the first two years of the 21st Century that the Red Sox had won the World Series. Although Warren correctly noted the team’s historic 2004 victory, which was the first since 1918, she also inaccurately claimed its second was in 2008—when it was in fact 2007.
The blunder was widely panned by Massachusetts voters and would continue to haunt Warren for the rest of the race. Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), then vying for a full term after winning the 2010 special election to replace Ted Kennedy, made every effort to make that sure. On the campaign trail, Brown frequently displayed his admiration for the Red Sox. Brown even took out radio ads across the Bay State touting his knowledge of the team’s history.
The strategy was not totally out of left field. In 2010, Brown partially won his seat because Red Sox fans turned against his Democrat opponent Martha Coakley, then the attorney general of Massachusetts. Coakley was initially considered a lock to win the race, but after numerous missteps and the volatility surrounding Obamacare, her chances plummeted. Her fate was sealed when she inaccurately alleged former Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling was actually a New York Yankee fan during a radio interview. The gaffe took place as Schilling, who led the Red Sox to victory in 2004, was actively barnstorming the state for Brown.
Even though Warren’s verbal misstep was not on the same level as the one made by Coakley, it elicited a similarly heated response. Warren would go on to win the race, narrowly buoyed by strong turnout for President Barack Obama’s reelection. In the years since, she has worked to repair her standing among Red Sox fans, though evidently she has not gained the support of the team’s chairman.