- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren is expected to end months of speculation Wednesday with the announcement that she will take on Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown next year in the Senate race in Massachusetts.

“The pressures on middle-class families are worse than ever, but it is the big corporations that get their way in Washington,” Mrs. Warren said in a statement released Tuesday. “I want to change that. I will work my heart out to earn the trust of the people of Massachusetts.”

A Warren spokesman told the Associated Press the 62-year-old Harvard law professor will make her official announcement in Boston.

Mrs. Warren, who has served as a White House adviser on cleaning up Wall Street, was passed over by President Obama this summer to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new federal agency she helped create, after prominent Republicans made it clear they would oppose her nomination.

She has never run for public office, but was high on Democrats’ wish list for a race that is symbolically important to a party determined to reclaim a seat long held by the now-deceased Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

With several best-selling books and regular appearances on cable news shows, the Oklahoma native has built a national profile as a populist advocate for the middle class and a crusader for reining in Wall Street excess. In 2010, Time magazine called her and other Obama appointees who helped shape the administration’s financial reforms the “new sheriffs of Wall Street.”

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a national liberal group, has been running a “Draft Warren” campaign online and has already raised, according to its website, more than $107,000 for her campaign.

In mid-August, Mrs. Warren put together an exploratory committee and has spent the last month putting a campaign together.

Still, she faces a crowded Democratic primary field that will include Setti Warren (no relation), mayor of the affluent Boston suburb of Newton and the state’s first popularly elected black mayor; youth program co-founder Alan Khazei; immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco; state Rep. Tom Conroy; and Robert Massie, who unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor.

The latest polls from Massachusetts show that any of those Democrats will have an uphill battle unseating Mr. Brown, who rode tea party support to success in the Senate special election to replace Kennedy in 2010.

A Boston Globe poll shows Mr. Brown, who has more than $10 million in his campaign war chest, is the most popular statewide officeholder in Massachusetts.

In a WBUR poll earlier this month, voters picked Mr. Brown over Mrs. Warren by a 44 percent to 35 percent margin.

In the wake of the 2008-2011 financial crisis, Mrs. Warren was named the chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the U.S. banking bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Last year, she was tasked by Mr. Obama with creating the new CFPB, but after Republicans senators weighed in against her role in the agency, the White House chose former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the agency. His nomination still awaits Senate confirmation.