Wall Street executives have been quite open about the fact that they really, really don’t want to see Elizabeth Warren get anywhere near the Senate. And it looks like they’re about to ratchet up their efforts to help Scott Brown prevent it from happening — including the influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Center for Public Integrity reports today that Wall Street and K Street lobbyists are firing up the fundraising on behalf of Brown in a big way. The report quoted multiple big finance types saying Brown’s reelection campaign is crucial, and it noted — without sourcing — that the U.S. Chamber “will be engaged early and heavily in Massachusetts with ads.”
Asked for comment, a Chamber spokesman, J.P. Fielder, emailed me: “Stay tuned.” He declined to say more, claiming he couldn’t discuss the group’s potential political activities, but the Chamber spent big on ads to help get Brown get elected in 2010, so more is likely now on the way. This comes after the New York Times reported that Warren’s “enemies” on Wall Street are getting ready to throw themselves behind Brown, who they view as a key ally, with “new intensity.”
Here’s why this is important: It suggests these powerful interests may think Warren has already shown she’s a threat to Brown. Yesterday, national Republicans were dismissive of a new online poll finding that Warrren is statistically tied with the incumbent. But the unusually early involvement of outside groups suggest that GOP-aligned special interests may in fact see Warren’s challenge to the Senator they’re backing as a serious one.
Here’s another data point. The Rove-founded Crossroads GPS recently went up on the air with a six-figure ad buy slamming Warren for embracing Occupy Wall Street. Yet only weeks before that, Crossroads’ spokesman went on record saying the group was unlikely to get involved in the race unless it “tightened.” Which would suggest the race has ... tightened.
Asked for comment on the U.S. Chamber and other activity gearing up, Warren campaign manager Mindy Myers emailed:
“She stood up to Wall Street and the big banks, demanded and won oversight and consumer protections they didn’t want. No one should be surprised they don’t want her in the Senate.”
The question is whether influential liberal groups will start spending big on the race to match the right. Environmental groups have spent some money — environmentalism is a resonant issue in Massachusetts, particularly among independents — but the big money has yet to flow. Warren herself has embarked on an unusually early and aggressive effort to introduce herself to the state with a minute-long biographical spot backed by six figures, and for now, it’s basically her versus her long time antagonist: Wall Street.