On Tuesday, Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren released her first television campaign commercial. The advertisement – which serves to introduce Bay State voters to her burgeoning candidacy and refute the allegation that she is a radical – emphasizes her middle-class beginnings and lifelong opposition to the political clout and excesses of Wall Street. Interestingly, the ad stays conspicuously positive and makes no mention of Senator Scott Brown, whom she will inevitably face in the 2012 general election if she wins her party’s nomination.
Although the ad is a genuine attempt to introduce the Harvard Law professor to the Bay State electorate, her message appears to be a brazen ploy to reform her image and galvanize moderate voters. Last month, for example, Warren came under fire after telling the Daily Beast she created the “intellectual foundation” for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Indeed, after reports of sexual assault, illicit drug use, and even suicide, it seems increasingly obvious why her first televised advertisement is largely autobiographical and populist in nature.
But what’s not apparent in the ad, however, is how the liberal political machine is throwing their weight behind her candidacy. Although Warren raised $3 million in the last fundraising quarter -- more than twice as much as the Massachusetts senator -- 70 percent of the donations poured in from out-of-state. Scott Brown, in contrast, raised almost two-thirds of his money in Massachusetts.
Underscoring Warren's appeal, MoveOn.org said it raised more than $300,000 for Warren in less than 24 hours. EMILY'S List, which raises money for female Democratic candidates, helped collect $197,394 for Warren while the Progressive Change Campaign Committee helped collect $412,133.
In other words, Elizabeth Warren’s nascent campaign is galvanizing Democrats across the country. But despite her popularity and financial support, Scott Brown still has $10.5 million in his campaign war chest – more than three times as much as his most formidable Democratic challenger. Nevertheless, Senator Brown will still have his hands full. Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg, for example – two nonpartisan political handicappers – delineate the race as “toss up” and “toss up/tilt Republican,” respectively.
The Massachusetts election, by all estimations, will be one of the most hotly contested senatorial races in 2012. And if Elizabeth Warren wins the nomination – which seems increasingly probable – I suspect this will be the last and only tepid advertisement we see disseminated in the Bay State.