Sen. Warren raising cash to aid fellow DemocratsBy STEVE LeBLANC , Associated Press
Dec. 31, 2013 5:52 PM ET
BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is hoping to block Republicans from gaining control of the Senate by using her fundraising muscle to bolster the candidacies of fellow Democrats facing election in 2014.
On New Year's Eve, Warren's campaign announced that it has raised $492,364 for her political action committee and hoped to break the half-million-dollar mark before the end of the day.
In a recent email to supporters, Warren said one goal of her PAC is to prevent a possible GOP takeover of the Senate.
"It's bad enough to have the House of Representatives under the control of the Republicans — we've seen what that looks like. We don't want a gang of extremist Republicans to take control of the Senate too," Warren wrote. Massachusetts' entire congressional delegation is Democratic.
As of the beginning of November, Warren's PAC — which is separate from her campaign account — had doled out $227,200 to other congressional candidates and party committees, including a $15,000 transfer to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Among the Democratic incumbents Warren is trying to help win re-election are Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
Five Republicans are vying for the chance to challenge Franken, who narrowly unseated a GOP incumbent in 2008. Pryor is the only Democrat in Arkansas' congressional delegation and is seeking a third term. He's being challenged by Republican Rep. Tom Cotton.
Among those Republicans mentioned as possible contenders against Shaheen is former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who recently announced he and his wife were selling their home in Massachusetts and are moving to New Hampshire.
Although he's said he's made no decisions about his political future, Brown recently launched a political action committee in New Hampshire and has played up what he calls his "long and strong ties to the Granite State," noting that his first home was in New Hampshire.
Warren, who is finishing her first year in the Senate, is no slouch when it comes to tapping into her base of supporters. To fuel her successful 2012 challenge to Brown, Warren raised tens of millions of dollars. That race was easily the most expensive election in Massachusetts history.
After defeating Brown, Warren wasted little time in turning some of that fundraising prowess to build up her political action committee, which she formed even before being sworn into office.
When she announced the formation of her PAC, Warren told supporters that her goal was to "support candidates across the country who believe in consistent accountability, investing in opportunity, and fighting for families and small businesses."
She said that like her campaign, her PAC would be funded by small donors. The PAC is a defined as a leadership PAC, which many members of Congress form to help support other candidates.
Leadership PACs are also helpful in raising a member's political profile in Congress.
In one of her most recent fundraising appeals, Warren pointed to a number of her top issues, including student loans, Social Security and accountability for the financial industry.
Warren has quickly become a darling of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, earning so much popularity among some activists that she's had to deny repeatedly any interest in running for president in 2016.