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Warren outpaces Brown in Mass. Senate money chase

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Four months after Democrat Elizabeth Warren announced a bid for Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown’s seat, the Wall Street watchdog has proven her fundraising prowess by collecting $5.7 million in the last three months of 2011 — nearly double the sum raised by Mr. Brown.

Mrs. Warren is still significantly outgunned by Mr. Brown when it comes to cash on hand, with $6 million in the bank compared to his $12.8 million. But with the general election 11 months away and Mrs. Warren with a moderate lead in the polls, both candidates likely face a tough slog to the finish line.

Speaking to reporters in Somerville, Mass. on Wednesday, Mrs. Warren cited the banking industry’s support for Mr. Brown — largely, she said, for his role in seeking to ease regulations and fees during the debate over a major financial regulatory overhaul bill.

Mrs. Warren has built her national reputation largely around Wall Street corruption as President Obama’s primary architect of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“The Wall Street guys have been meeting aggressively to say, ‘How many ways can we fund Scott Brown so Elizabeth Warren does not go to the U.S. Senate?’” she said, adding, “Let’s face it, they know where they’re putting their big money.”

Painting herself as a grassroots fundraiser, Mrs. Warren said her average contribution was $64 and that 23,000 Massachusetts voters have given to her campaign.

Heavily favored to win the Democratic primary, recent polls show her with strong support in the general election. She led Mr. Brown by a 49-42 point margin in a University of Massachusetts and Lowell/Boston Herald poll in early December, after a poll one week earlier by the University of Massachusetts Amherst iSurvey project showed her with a four percentage point lead.

The conservative nonprofit Crossroads GPS, linked to top Republican strategist Karl Rove, has been trying to chip away at her momentum with television ads that portray her as a tool of Wall Street and seek to tie her to violence at Occupy Wall Street.

Mrs. Warren accused Mr. Rove of “playing wingman” for Mr. Brown.

“I think Karl Rove is already doing his best to make it about as nasty as possible,” she said.

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