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Warren, Brown fill their coffers

Democrat takes in $3.15m, double what senator raised

Elizabeth Warren spoke during the  first debate between the six candidates in the Massachusetts Democratic US Senate primary race held in Durgin Hall on the campus of UMASS-Lowell on October 4, 2011.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Elizabeth Warren spoke during the first debate between the six candidates in the Massachusetts Democratic US Senate primary race on October 4, 2011.

Elizabeth Warren, capitalizing on Democratic establishment support and help from liberal political action committees, has raised $3.15 million for her US Senate bid, double what Republican Senator Scott Brown raised over the same reporting period, according to figures released by the campaigns yesterday.

The strong fund-raising start sets the stage for an especially expensive race in 2012, given the importance of the seat to both parties. Brown raised $1.55 million in July, August, and September, meaning the candidates combined raised $4.7 million over that period.

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The reports, which are due from all candidates later this month, serve as an early measure of political strength and supporter enthusiasm for the public, party activists, and contributors who may be waiting to gauge a candidate’s viability before deciding whether to help a campaign. The money will also be important as the election draws nearer and candidates begin purchasing television and radio ads.

Brown’s campaign said he had a total of $10.5 million in his war chest as of Sept. 30. That includes funds left over from his special election campaign that culminated in his January 2010 victory.

Warren’s figure puts her far ahead of fellow Democrats seeking the nomination. A Harvard professor who helped President Obama form a federal consumer protection agency, Warren has excited the Democratic base with her anti-Wall Street rhetoric.

“These are pretty amazing numbers for our first official finance report, raised in a very short period of time,’’ Warren said in an e-mail to supporters. “So you can understand why I want to say thanks a million - and more! - for this remarkable support.’’

Brown became a national star last year when he defeated Attorney General Martha Coakley, a prohibitive favorite, in a special election to replace liberal icon Edward M. Kennedy. Brown’s popularity within Massachusetts and his national fame have helped him maintain a strong fund-raising operation.

In a news release, Brown’s finance director, John Cook, called it “another strong fund-raising quarter.’’

“He will have the resources he needs to get out his strong pro-jobs message and run against whomever emerges as the Democratic nominee,’’ Cook continued.

Brown was able to raise more than $15 million for last year’s special election, much of it in the final weeks as Republicans around the country saw an opportunity to rid Democrats of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

That election was unusual in the amount of national attention it drew. This time around, the candidates will be competing for money with the presidential contenders and with candidates in other congressional races around the country, making it essential that they begin raising funds early, said Peter Ubertaccio, chairman of political science department at Stonehill College.

“They’re both solid numbers,’’ Ubertaccio said of the two candidates’ most recent fund-raising efforts. “They certainly do suggest that [Warren’s] front-runner status is probably now deserved. That’s a lot of money in a short period of time.’’

Warren’s closest Democratic competitor, Alan Khazei, said Friday that he raised $365,000 in the most recent fund-raising period, and that he had $750,000 in cash available. That is enough to stay in the race, but a significant drop from the $920,000 Khazei raised in April, May, and June, before Warren entered the race.

Warren officially became a candidate on Sept. 14, but she began raising money through an exploratory account in August and activists began raising money on her behalf even earlier, as part of an effort to draft her into the race.

A campaign official said yesterday that the vast majority of her funds came after she became a declared candidate. The liberal group that started the draft effort on Warren’s behalf, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said it has raised about $400,000 of her total. Another liberal PAC, Emily’s List, has also been supporting Warren.

The Warren campaign said that 96 percent of its donations were for $100 or less and that 11,000 of her contributions are from Massachusetts. But the campaign did not detail its finance report, making it impossible to say how many large contributors she had and how large their contributions were. Nor did the campaign say how many contributions came from out of state.

The Brown campaign did not release details of its fund-raising.

Details from all the candidates’ fund-raising will become public later this month.

Two Democrats in the race have not announced fund-raising totals: Thomas P. Conroy, a state representative from Wayland, and Marisa DeFranco, a North Shore lawyer.

A fifth Democratic candidate, Newton software engineer Herb Robinson, said yesterday that he had not raised any money, but loaned himself $8,000 from his bathroom renovation fund. “Obviously I am in a tough fund-raising position,’’ he said. “I am running a very frugal campaign, so I will be able to hang in.’’

Two other candidates - Mayor Setti Warren of Newton and activist Bob Massie of Somerville - dropped out of the Democratic primary race over the last two weeks, saying Elizabeth Warren’s entry had made it too difficult to raise money and garner attention.

Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Noahbierman.
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