Warren to explore Senate run

Democrat already a target for GOP

By Glen Johnson
Globe Staff / August 19, 2011

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Prospective US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren filed paperwork yesterday to create an exploratory campaign committee, the next step in a possible challenge to Senator Scott Brown.

The Harvard Law School professor and former Obama administration official also created a website - - to solicit donations and possible volunteers.

“I think this was always part of the plan,’’ said Doug Rubin, a Democratic political consultant helping Warren as a precampaign adviser. “The whole point is for her to engage with people and listen to their concerns. This just allows her to do more of that.’’

Warren has been traveling around Massachusetts this week conducting a self-described “listening tour.’’

She had two sessions Monday, three Tuesday and Wednesday, and two yesterday in Framingham and Shrewsbury.

Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show that her husband, fellow Harvard law professor Bruce Mann, is the treasurer for the new committee.

The e-mail contact listed for the organization belongs to Perkins Coie, a Washington law firm and lobbying shop favored by Democratic candidates.

Republicans raced yesterday to define Warren before any formal announcement of her candidacy.

The state Republican Party released a new statement labeling her “a militant liberal.’’ They pointed to her comment last year that if her consumer protection agency was not created, “my second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.’’

The National Republican Senatorial Committee also joined in, criticizing her listening tour.

“As a native of Oklahoma, the anointed candidate of the Washington establishment, and someone who has spent many years ensconced in the hallways of Harvard, it’s a good idea for Professor Warren to learn more about her adopted state of Massachusetts as she prepares to compete in a crowded Democrat primary,’’ the committee said in a statement.

Seven Democrats have declared they are running in next year’s party primary for the seat.

Warren, though, is the favorite of national Democrats concerned that none of the existing candidates can effectively challenge Brown, who shocked the party in 2010 by winning the special election to replace the late Edward M. Kennedy, a party icon.

“I’m thrilled that Elizabeth is pursuing this next endeavor with the thoughtfulness and respect that’s been such a hallmark of her career,’’ said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List.

The Washington-based group raises money from a network of women eager to support female candidates who champion abortion rights.

“Elizabeth is strong, smart, and a dedicated fighter for working Americans,’’ Schriock added. “We’d love to see her take her talents to the US Senate.’’

Federal law allows prospective candidates to test the waters for a possible candidacy by traveling, conducting polls, and performing research.

That can include forming an exploratory committee to formalize the arrangement.

While in that phase, candidates are allowed to raise a reasonable sum to conduct such activity - a vague measure - so long as they collect donations in accordance with federal contribution requirements.

They are also barred from speaking about themselves as a candidate.

Glen Johnson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.