scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Donors from afar buoying Warren

But total war chest lags Brown’s in Senate race

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign to reclaim a US Senate seat for the Democrats is drawing on deep out-of-state support, with 61.3 percent of her itemized donations coming from beyond Massachusetts’ borders during the last quarter of 2011.

The Cambridge Democrat, who outraised Republican incumbent Scott Brown $5.7 million to $3.2 million in the fourth quarter, received nearly 20 percent of her listed contributions from California and more than 13 percent from residents of the state of New York, according to a Globe analysis of a campaign finance database released yesterday.

By contrast, Brown received about two-thirds of his support from Massachusetts, which accounted for about 66 percent of his itemized donations. The second biggest source of Brown donations Brown was Texas, at 6.4 percent, followed by New York at 6.2 percent.


Only contributions of $200 or more must be detailed in reports to the Federal Election Commission.

Reports filed to date with the commission show that the Bay State Senate battle is shaping up as one of the most expensive in the country. Candidates for the Senate in Massachusetts had raised $18.8 million, the most in the country, through Dec. 31, according to a Globe analysis of data in 29 contests. Massachusetts Senate candidates, including some Democrats who have dropped out, had spent $7.1 million, second only to Texas at $7.4 million.

Despite her fund-raising surge at the end of the year, Warren - who entered the race relatively late - remained well behind Brown in terms of the cash on hand as of Dec. 31, reporting $6.1 million compared with his $12.9 million.

Brown, who won a high-profile special election a little over two years ago, had developed a formidable war chest and it appeared the Democrats would have a difficult time competing. When Warren entered the race last fall, however, she immediately demonstrated a fund-raising prowess, drawing sums enormous for a political newcomer embarking on her first campaign.


The residences, occupations, and employers of many of Brown’s and Warren’s donors sketch a profile of the demographics of each candidate’s base.

Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, draws heavy support from academia, with more than $182,000 coming from at least 353 contributors employed at more than 100 colleges and universities around the country. Topping the list was Harvard University, with at least 90 contributors who gave a combined $52,000. She raised more than $10,000 from academics and other officials at Boston University, Stanford, and schools in the California state university system.

Among those Warren contributors who disclosed their occupations, 5.5 percent said they were professors, compared with about one half of 1 percent for Brown. About 10.3 percent of Warren’s identified donors listed their occupation as attorney, compared with 5.6 percent for Brown. Warren, a bankruptcy law expert and consumer advocate, also had significantly higher concentrations of donations among those who listed their occupations as engineer, physician, scientist, writer, artist, or author.

On the other hand, those who said they were a chief executive, president, vice president, or executive accounted for 12.4 percent of the cash given by Brown’s itemized donors in 2011, compared with less than 4 percent for Warren in those categories. Brown also drew proportionately more of his money from those who identified their occupations as partner, business owner, investor, investment manager, or manager.


Warren drew more than 30 percent of the money she raised last year from retirees; for Brown, the figure was more than 20 percent.

The top communities that were sources of contributions to Warren include New York City, where she outraised Brown $308,045 to $85,660; Cambridge, $178,448 to $31,975; Los Angeles, $107,460 to $3,000; San Francisco $100,140 to $2,000; Brookline $85,469 to $34,002; Concord $69,225 to $22,525; and Santa Monica, Calif. $37,825 to $6,000. In Northampton and Hollywood, Calif., Warren’s campaign outraised Brown $29,285 to zero and $23,025 to zero, respectively.

Her top 20 sources of funds also include Stanford, Palo Alto, Mill Valley, and Pacific Palisades, all in California, and Austin, Texas, and Seattle. Conversely, Brown raised more money in Boston, $215,616 to $138,939, and in Dallas and Houston. He also raised much more than Warren in Wellesley, Hingham, Weston, and Chestnut Hill.

From California, Warren’s contributors included a number of entertainment business figures, including television producer Steven Bochco and actor Danny DeVito, who each gave her $2,500, the maximum during the nominating phase of the race. Her Chicago donors included David Axelrod, chief political strategist to President Obama.

Brown is also relying more heavily on political action committees, which may give $5,000, or double the amount that individuals may contribute per election cycle.

Brown collected $352,000 from PACs during the last quarter of 2011, compared with Warren’s $142,487. Of her total, most came from labor unions and groups advocating for women. For example, the Carpenters Legislative Improvement Committee and Sheet Metal Workers International Association PACs each gave $10,000, the maximum for both the nomination and election cycle. Washington Women for Choice and the Women’s Political Committee also chipped in $10,000. Brown’s PAC contributions came from a range of corporate and political interests, including financial services, defense, health care, and energy and leadership PACs of a number of Republican Senate colleagues.


For the reporting period, Warren’s campaign reported spending about $2.6 million, more than $1.5 million of it for advertising, compared with Brown, who spent about $900,000.

Matt Carroll and Tom Giratikanon of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Brian Mooney can be reached at

Clarification: A graphic on Page One yesterday showing fourthquarter campaign donations to Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren should have indicated that the figures included only itemized donations available from the Federal Elections Commission. Campaigns are not required to itemize donations less than $200.