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Warren, Brown poised to set Senate cash record

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 16, 2012

With a massive haul from July through September, Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren are nearing the record for the most expensive Senate race in history.

Mr. Brown and Mrs. Warren, a Harvard law professor, collected nearly $20 million between them over the past three months, bringing their combined total to $63.8 million for the race so far — putting them within spitting distance of the 2000 U.S. Senate race featuring Hillary Rodham Clinton and then-Rep. Rick Lazio, who hold the record with a combined $69.2 million raised.

The campaigns publicly disclosed their fundraising late Monday, and Mr. Brown raised $7.5 million during the three-month period, making him a superstar among Republican candidates.

But his skills dim in the face of Mrs. Warren, who has firmly established herself as one of the most successful Senate fundraisers in history.

She hauled in $12.12 million during the same time period, which brings her total in the race up to $36.3 million.

She now trails only Mr. Lazio's 2000 campaign and Mrs. Clinton's 2006 Senate re-election bid, in which she raised more than $50 million, as the most prolific fundraisers in congressional campaign history, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The record for most spent by a candidate goes to Jon Corzine, whose largely self-funded 2000 Senate campaign in New Jersey doled out more than $60 million.

Whether or not Mr. Brown and Mrs. Warren beat the 2000 Clinton-Lazio record, they've already ensured the race is the most expensive Senate or House race in Massachusetts history.

It's also one of the highest-profile races in the country, as Mr. Brown seeks to defend his seat against Mrs. Warren, who served as President Obama's chief overseer of the 2008 bank bailouts.

Mrs. Warren has enjoyed some tailwinds in recent weeks, with polls showing her slightly ahead of Mr. Brown. On Tuesday, President Obama officially endorsed her, and she was joined on the campaign trail by Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown student who gained widespread attention earlier this year after testifying before Congress in favor of the Obama administration's contraception mandate.

Both candidates have stuck closely to the economic ideas proposed by their own parties, with Mrs. Warren advocating for raising taxes on the very wealthy, while Mr. Brown says he won't vote to raise taxes on anyone.

But despite being endorsed by some pro-life groups in the past, he's been inching to the left on social issues as he tries to win over the state's independent voters — something to which Mrs. Warren has been happy to call attention.

Meanwhile, he's tried to keep the focus on a controversy over her unproven claims to be part Cherokee heritage and her refusal to release her Harvard employment records, which he says could show she received professional advantage from being considered an American Indian.

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