The money war in the Massachusetts Senate race is officially on and this quarter Elizabeth Warren is the resounding victor. The consumer advocate and Harvard Law School professor raised $3.15 million in just several weeks of campaigning. Ninety-six percent of the donations were $100 or less, according to her campaign, which said they raised the money from 11,000 donors in Massachusetts with the “vast majority” of donations coming in after she formally announced on Sept. 14, the last two weeks of the quarter.
This is more than many of the GOP presidential candidates raised this quarter.
But despite her big haul, Warren’s accounts are still dwarfed by Scott Brown’s cash on hand. The Brown campaign raised $1.55 million this quarter, less than Warren, but has $10.5 million cash on hand. The Brown campaign’s finance director released a statement pointing out they have quite the war chest they can sit on while Warren has to battle her Democratic rivals before she officially takes on Brown.
“Scott Brown had another strong fundraising quarter and he will have the resources he needs to get out his strong pro-jobs message and run against whomever emerges as the Democratic nominee,” John Cook, Brown’s finance director said in a statement.
Warren’s rise is happening at the same time the Occupy Wall Street protests are going on throughout the country. Just as the tea party movement led directly to conservatives being elected in 2010, could Warren be the first Occupy Wall Street senator? Massachusetts Democratic Mary Anne Marsh called Warren’s fundraising numbers “impressive” and pointed out that the issues the protestors are pushing are just the ones that Warren has been working on as a consumer protection advocate and will undoubtedly help her against Brown.
“In politics, you have to be good and lucky. She has proven to be very good, but also lucky in that the things that she has been fighting for her whole life: fighting for the middle class, fighting against financial institutions that have been wronging the middle class for years, and fighting for middle class families that need jobs. These are the issues in this election and that’s not something she could have planned,” Marsh said. “She’s been fighting for these issues for years, but she could never have known these would be the issues of the election.”
The Warren campaign sent out an email to supporters hoping to raise even more money off the large haul.
“That’s why your support is more important than ever. I need you to help us build the strongest grassroots campaign we can by encouraging your friends and family to join us, too,” the email signed Elizabeth Warren read. “We are in this together. We are fighting back for the middle class families who are getting hammered here in Massachusetts and across the country. We are fighting for the future of America.”
Since the Harvard professor got in the race last month she’s already squeezed out two of her primary opponents: Newton mayor Setti Warren and most recently Democratic activist Bob Massie got out of the race.
Despite the Democratic primary not being until next September — just two months before the general election – it’s already getting heated between Warren and Brown, with personal insults being lobbed between the two. Last week at the Democratic debate, the candidates were asked how they paid for college. The moderator pointed out that Brown famously posed for Cosmopolitan in 1982. Warren’s response, which got laughter from the crowd: “I kept my clothes on. I borrowed money.”
When asked to respond to Warren’s dig on WZLX radio, Brown replied with his own: “Thank God.”
Marsh said City Year founder Alan Khazei is Warren’s most serious Democratic opponent and the only one that could be affected by her huge haul.
“It’s one thing to have a good rollout, one thing to have a good debate, but welcome to the NFL,” Marsh said referring to Warren’s fundraising haul. “The only one it would really affect is Alan Khazei who has raised 1.3 million, he’s been in much longer than Warren. I don’t think he gets out of the race. He has enough money to stay in awhile, but by every measure Elizabeth Warren is the frontrunner across the board.”
Khazei’s spokesman Scott Ferson told ABC News that they raised $365,000 this quarter down from $925,000 last quarter, but they have $750,000 cash on hand. Ferson said Warren’s numbers won’t change their strategy.
“Alan got into this knowing what numbers Scott Brown would post. We are going to run the race we intend to run. We are raising exactly to our plan and we are going to try and not worry about what others might raise,” Ferson said. “The question for us is do we have enough money to get our message out there and tell people about Alan? And we are confident we will.”
Marsh added that the “person who will be most surprised and most disappointed is Scott Brown because now she has raised one0-third of what it took him since the special election in 2010 to raise. She’s done it in 45 days or less and the key fact is these people gave $100 or less and they are the gift that keeps on giving.”
Massachusetts Republican strategist Rob Gray says the election will be “the most expensive in Massachusetts history.”
“It’s a big splash,” Gray said referring to Warren’s fundraising. “But, I expect the Brown people expect that they are going to have to win a race where the spending is one to one. That’s what they should expect.”
Gray added that including outside spending the money could get up to thirty million dollars on each side, making the battle for Massachusetts a potentially sixty million dollar race.
The liberal group Progressive Change Campaign Committee also reported Monday that they raised $407,899 for Warren’s campaign.