The liberal advocacy group Democracy for America is pledging to put $250,000 toward a campaign to try to “draft” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, into the 2016 presidential race.
Collaboration between DFA and another group, MoveOn.org, on the campaign will include establishing offices and staff in the early presidential states of Iowa and New Hampshire, recruiting small-dollar donors, and executing a “50-state strategy” of drafting and supporting like-minded candidates.
MoveOn has pledged to invest at least $1 million in the effort.
“America needs Senator Warren’s leadership, this is her moment, and we’re committed to building the powerful, grass-roots movement that will inspire her to seize it,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America.
MoveOn was set to kick off the campaign with DFA at a meeting in Des Moines on Wednesday, and ran a full-page ad in the Des Moines Register with hundreds of MoveOn members who have signed the petition asking her to run.
“The response that we’re hearing from Iowans in the first few days of this effort, it’s clear people are hungry for Elizabeth Warren to get in the race,” said Victoria Kaplan, an organizer for MoveOn.
Ms. Kaplan said Wednesday’s event is their first organizing meeting, and there will be a similar event in New Hampshire in January. The campaign is seeking staffers in both states and trying to build volunteer and donor support.
Annie Weinberg, DFA’s electoral director, said members realize the effort won’t be easy but that if Ms. Warren — who has repeatedly batted down such pleas from groups urging her to run — were already running, there wouldn’t be a reason for such an effort in the first place.
“Democracy for America members right here in Iowa and all across the country want us to draft Senator Warren because our country needs her voice in the 2016 presidential race,” Ms. Weinberg said.
Since she was first elected in 2012, Ms. Warren has risen to become a folk hero of the left as an anti-Wall Street populist crusader, and has emerged as a candidate of choice for activists seeking an alternative to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is far ahead of Ms. Warren and other potential Democratic contenders in public polling on 2016.
The group Ready for Hillary, which has no formal ties to Mrs. Clinton, held its first Iowa meeting in January. Midwest regional organizing director Derek Eadon, one of the group’s two Iowa-based staffers, said the group has appeared at party functions across the state, held house parties and recruited volunteers for months.
Mrs. Warren insists she is “not running for president.” And that, said Brad Anderson, a Democratic consultant who served as state director for President Barack Obama in 2012, is noticed in Iowa.
“Anecdotally, socially and at holiday parties, Iowans are talking about people who have actually expressed an interest in running for the president,” said Mr. Anderson.
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.