Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor and consumer advocate whose US Senate candidacy has fired up Democrats across the nation, raised $5.7 million in the last three months of 2011, an extraordinary amount for a first-time candidate and an unmistakable reflection of what many observers say is her potent appeal to party leaders and activists eager to recapture the seat once held by Edward M. Kennedy.
She has just over $6 million on hand, her campaign reported this afternoon.
Warren’s overall fund-raising for those few final months of 2011 outpaced Republican Senator Scott Brown’s total for the same time period. On Monday, Brown’s campaign released figures showing that he collected $3.2 million in the final quarter of 2011 and raised a total of $8.5 million last year.
Still, Brown holds a strong advantage, having accumulated $12.8 million in his campaign account, a record amount for any Massachusetts candidate this early in the election cycle.
Warren, who has never run for office before and has no fund-raising structure to draw upon, stunned the political world in October when she raised $3.1 million in just the few weeks surrounding her announcement that she had officially entered the race.
Her campaign reported this afternoon that the average contribution in the final months of 2011 was $64 and the number of Massachusetts contributors increased to roughly 23,000.
The campaign also disclosed that it spent $1.6 million on television advertisements in December, aimed at introducing Warren to voters.
“From all across our commonwealth, people are supporting our campaign and the fight to level the playing field for middle class families,” Warren said in a statement this afternoon. “With Wall Street lining up against this campaign, already contributing millions and willing to pay any price to try to stop our work, it’s going to take a strong, grassroots effort like this to win.”
Though she has not yet captured the Democratic nomination, Warren is considered the leading contender to take on Brown in the general election.
Frank Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.