Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren on Thursday launched an exploratory committee and a website for a possible challenge against GOP Sen. Scott Brown, a top Democratic target in 2012.
Warren will use the committee and the website to begin raising money and lining up volunteers. A Massachusetts Democrat familiar with Warren's plans said the paperwork was filed Thursday for the exploratory committee. The Democrat requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The Harvard Law School professor is meeting with activists and party officials across the state and plans to decide after Labor Day whether she will run.
Publicist Joyce Linehan hosted a party for Warren Monday night in Dorchester.
"As they filed out of the house, they had all kinds of plans for fundraisers and concerts, benefit concerts, and everyone said: 'I'm in.' So I really hope that she's in," Linehan said.
Top national Democrats desperate to take back the seat long held by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy have been urging Warren to run despite a crowded primary field.
A favorite of consumer groups and liberals, Warren got a boost from the pro-abortion rights group EMILY's List, which raises money for female Democratic candidates.
"The EMILY's List community has been telling me loud and clear that they want Elizabeth Warren in the race to beat Scott Brown," Stephanie Schriock, the group's head said in a statement Thursday. "Today, they got a little bit closer to getting their wish."
Supporters say Warren's image as a crusader on behalf of consumers against well-heeled Wall Street and corporate interests and her national profile would make her a strong candidate, even though she's never run for public office before.
Warren was chosen by President Obama last year to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but congressional Republicans opposed her becoming the bureau's director, and Obama in July decided not to pick her to head the new agency.
With additional reporting from the WBUR Newsroom
This program aired on August 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.