Massachusetts Democrats are stuck with Elizabeth Warren. That’s what the Boston Herald is reporting after talking to state Democrats, and they’re probably right. There is nobody with Warren’s name recognition and catching up with fundraising, at this point, would be a long shot:

“The Democratic Party is really stuck,” countered University of New Hampshire political science professor Andrew Smith. “They essentially cleared the path for her as a candidate, and they can’t get rid of her now. She could conceivably drop out, but I doubt that will be the case, and I doubt the party will try to push her aside.” …

Smith and some Democrats say the party can’t switch front-runners now — it’s probably too late for a big name that could attract big money to jump in and gather the 10,000 signatures needed by a June 5 deadline.

“They’re in a tough spot, but there’s not a lot they can do about it,” Smith said.

Warren had $10.9 million as of late March to Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s $15 million.

The fundraising is the bigger concern, but it’s not true that nobody else could gather the signatures before June 5. Warren’s primary opponent, Marisa DeFranco, reportedly already has, though she’s raised a paltry $9,074 during the first quarter of 2012. True, DeFranco isn’t being dragged down by a Native American ancestry scandal. But she’s also way less polished than Warren, has virtually no campaign infrastructure in place, and has barely any name recognition in the state, let alone any national fundraising capacity. If Democrats ditch Warren and take a gamble on someone like DeFranco, they could end up in an even worse position, particularly if she can’t handle the national media glare.

Democrats are putting a lot of stock in a recent Rasmussen poll that found the controversy hasn’t hurt Warren in the state, and are hoping this scandal blows over by the summer. Whether that happens – and whether the issue starts to take a heavy toll on Warren’s poll numbers – likely depends on whether state Republicans can convince voters that this is a reflection on Warren’s personal integrity, rather than just a sensational storyline.

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