Warren, coy on whether to seek re-election, stockpiles cash
BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is stockpiling campaign cash from liberal supporters across the country even though she hasn’t committed to a 2018 re-election bid.
Warren has collected nearly $1.6 million in contributions in the first half of 2015, bringing her campaign bank account to more than $2.4 million as of the end of June, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Nearly 70 percent of the money raised by the Massachusetts Democrat this year came in small donations of under $200. As evidence of the widespread support for Warren among liberals, her identified donors in the first six months of the year hail from every state except North Dakota.
Many of the donations to Warren were made through ActBlue, a fundraising website for Democratic candidates that allows supporters of candidates to make multiple, small-dollar donations.
Warren spent about $758,000 during the same six-month period, including on Internet advertising, polling, travel and campaign consulting.
She has also been raising money for her political action committee, the PAC for a Level Playing Field. The committee pulled in more than $421,000 during the first half of the year, bringing the total cash on hand left in the account to more than $1.2 million as of June’s end.
PACs like Warren’s are typically created by political figures to help support political parties and other candidates for office. The PACs can also help raise a member’s political profile in Congress.
Unlike Warren’s campaign account, about 90 percent of the donations to her PAC came in the form of larger donations, many for the maximum $5,000 allowed per year. Among those making $5,000 contributions include actor Danny DeVito; his wife, actress Rhea Perlman; television producer Norman Lear; and producer/director James L. Brooks.
Donations from Warren’s PAC largely went to Democratic members of Congress. The two biggest donations of $15,000 each went to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and a fund that helps the committee cover the cost of election recounts.
The fundraising comes as Warren is midway through her first term and won’t face re-election until 2018.
Warren, in a recent interview with WBZ-TV, declined to say whether she’ll seek a second six-year term, saying it was “too early to talk about that.”
Warren remains a powerhouse among the more liberal wing of her party, and her endorsement is coveted by those hoping to win the Democratic presidential nomination. She has said she’s watching the ongoing primary contest to get a better read on the candidates and their positions.
Last weekend, Vice President Joe Biden held a private meeting with Warren at the Naval Observatory, Biden’s Washington residence. Biden is weighing a presidential run.
Warren met with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton earlier in the year. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, also vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, has said he’s met with Warren.
Warren’s current fundraising numbers pale in comparison to the $41 million that flooded into her account during the 2012 election, when she successfully ousted Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown.