Despite prolific fund-raising, Warren campaign in debt

Elizabeth Warren – who knows a thing or two about debt and bankruptcy – disclosed today that she has a surprising debt of her own to pay down.

Even after raising a whopping $42 million for her Senate race this year - more than any other congressional candidate in the country – the senator-elect from Massachusetts told her supporters that her campaign does not have enough cash to pay its bills.

In an e-mail, the Harvard Law professor - considered one of the nation’s preeminent scholars of American debt - asked for donations to help her wash away the red ink.


Warren did not say how much debt she needs to pay down, but blamed the shortfall in part on the thousands of volunteers who flocked to her campaign, saying “that meant even more last-minute coffee and pizza.”

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“One of the results of our embarrassment of riches was, well I’ll come out and say it - we ended up with a little bit of debt,” Warren wrote. “Everyone, we need a little more money to pay off our final bills. Can you help one more time?”

A campaign official said Warren owes just $400,000 – less than 1 percent of the $42 million she raised.

It is not unusual for campaigns – even successful, well-funded campaigns – to end in debt. But the disclosure is notable for Warren because she raised such staggering sums in her race against Senator Scott Brown and has spent her career studying the roots of debt in American families and businesses.

“I know this was the most expensive Senate race in the country,” Warren wrote. “And I know that we’ve sent you a bazillion e-mails asking for money over the past year. I’m sure you expected them to all end once the votes were counted - and yes, that’s what I thought too. Right now, I’d rather be writing about filibuster reform and banking regulation . But we still have a little more to do to wrap things up. Can you help one more time to finish 2012 strong?”

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com.