WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren on Thursday launched an exploratory committee and a website for a possible challenge to Republican Sen. Scott Brown, a top Democratic target in 2012.
Warren will use the committee and the website to begin raising money and lining up volunteers. A Massachusetts Democrat familiar with Warren's plans said the paperwork was filed Thursday for the exploratory committee. The Democrat was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity
Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, is meeting with activists and party officials across the state and plans to decide after Labor Day whether she will run. Top national Democrats desperate to take back the seat long held by the late Edward M. Kennedy have been urging Warren to join the primary field.
A favorite of consumer groups and liberals, Warren got a boost from the abortion rights group EMILY's List, which raises money for female Democratic candidates.
"The EMILY's List community has been telling me loud and clear that they want Elizabeth Warren in the race to beat Scott Brown," Stephanie Schriock, the group's head, said in a statement. "Today, they got a little bit closer to getting their wish."
Supporters say Warren's image as a crusader on behalf of consumers against well-heeled Wall Street and corporate interests and her national profile would make her a strong candidate, even though she's never run for public office.
Warren was chosen by President Barack Obama last year to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but congressional Republicans opposed her becoming the bureau's director, and Obama in July decided not to pick her to head the new agency.
Republicans scoffed at Warren's latest move. "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," said Brian Walsh of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
"If she's really listening," Walsh said, "she'll hear that her plans for higher taxes and more Washington spending will kill jobs."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.