Top Democratic leaders in the Senate are appealing to their supporters to help former Obama administration official Elizabeth Warren take down GOP Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, both penned letters on Thursday asking supporters to donate to Warren’s campaign.
“I remember vividly how savagely we were attacked in 2010, and I know that the special interests are prepared to do even more to defeat Elizabeth and other Democrats in 2012,” Reid wrote in an email to supporters of his Searchlight PAC. “But we won by standing together, and we can help Elizabeth win the same way.”
Warren established herself as the highest-grossing Senate candidate of the cycle so far when she pulled in $5.7 million in the final three months of 2011, her first full quarter in the race. But noting that her war chest was still half the size of what Brown had amassed, Warren’s campaign announced days later that they would hold a “money bomb” on Thursday to raise as much as possible.
In asking his donors to join Warren’s money bomb, Durbin invoked the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), whose seat Warren and Democrats are trying to win back from Brown.
“During his nearly fifty years in the Senate, Ted was one of the fiercest advocates for social and economic equality that our country has ever known,” Durbin wrote. “And now, we not only have an opportunity to take this seat back from the Tea Party (and Wall Street!), but to elect someone who would be a top-notch legislator in the mold of Ted Kennedy: Elizabeth Warren.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee took issue with the attempt by Durbin and Reid to portray Warren's campaign as a fight against special interests, arguing that both had been among the top recipients of lobbyist contributions in Congress.
"It’s telling that this is who Elizabeth Warren is relying on to raise money," said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh. "But then again, hypocrisy is quickly becoming a hallmark of her campaign."
A tally on Warren’s campaign website said she had raised more than $920,000 through the money bomb as of Thursday afternoon.
The timing of the money bomb was no coincidence. Brown has scheduled his official reelection campaign launch for Thursday, making it a perfect moment for Warren to try to steal his thunder.
In his speech, the freshman senator plans to reintroduce himself to voters as a rare, refreshing voice of independence amid an increasingly partisan Congress, hoping to blunt the wariness many voters in Massachusetts have about Republican politicians.
“I don’t worry about the party line. I don’t get caught up in petty fights. I always remember why I am there and who sent me. I am still nobody’s senator but yours,” Brown will say, according to excerpts from his speech obtained by The Hill.
Without referring to Warren by name, Brown will paint her as a rubber stamp for the economic policies of President Obama and Senate Democrats.
“Even though Washington already wastes far too much of your hard-earned money, it’s a guarantee that my opponent will fall right into line with the Washington mindset of more spending, more debt, and eventually more taxes to bail out the big spenders. And that’s a debate I welcome.”
Updated at 6:40 p.m.