Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) presidential campaign is putting resources into Maine, where it hopes to help unseat Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in one of the most high-profile Senate races of this cycle.
A new memo sent to supporters on Tuesday from Warren’s campaign manager Roger Lau details a series of investments on state directors and organizers for states that vote and caucus in March. The campaign, Lau writes, is devoting these resources not just to boost Warren ahead of primary voting but to assist Democrats in marquee Senate, House, and state legislative contests in 2020. On the target list Lau offered was Maine, where Collins is facing a number of potential Democratic challengers, including Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon.
“We're hiring state directors and organizers in a number of states that have primaries and caucuses in March. And we're targeting our resources to invest in places that will be critical to keeping the House, taking back the U.S. Senate, and regaining ground in key state legislatures in 2020,” Lau wrote. “That includes states like Illinois and California, where Democrats won a whole bunch of House seats in 2018 in close elections that we'll need to defend. It also includes states like Maine, which has a competitive Senate race and Georgia, where there will be two Senate seats up for election.”
It is not unheard of for sitting senators to target one another during election campaigns. But it is relatively rare, owing to the congeniality that still lingers in the chamber. This is especially true when the member is among the moderates. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), for example, has publicly endorsed Collins’ reelection.
But progressive activists have made unseating the Maine Republican a top priority this cycle, owing to her support for Brett Kavanaugh’s supreme court nomination. Even before there were declared Democratic candidates in the race, upwards of $3 million was raised to defeat the Republican senator. Warren’s decision to devote campaign resources to that task will undoubtedly endear her even more with that crowd, though it’s not clear how much money she will actually spend in the state and whether the investment will simply be for a personal political benefit. Maine is among the states scheduled to vote on Super Tuesday.
“Remember: this election is about more than just beating Donald Trump—he's just the worst symptom of a corrupt system,” Lau wrote, describing the plans. “If we want to make big, structural change, we need to make sure Democrats control the U.S. House and Senate and win important gubernatorial and state legislative races across the country.”
In his memo, Lau also said that the campaign was going to devote resources to flipping state legislatures in Michigan and Minnesota and invest in Texas and Florida as well.
Hiring new state-based organizers wasn’t the only new investment that Lau announced. He also said that the campaign is launching an eight-figure digital and TV ad campaign in the first four presidential voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.
“It will be more digital than old-school broadcast television, and we have built an in-house staff to produce videos and ads rather than adopt the consultant-driven approach of other campaigns (and the big commissions and fees that come along with it),” Lau wrote. The campaign has three samples of the kind of footage that could be run or possibly appear in ads, which focus on Warren’s central message of corruption.
Tuesday’s memo arrives as Warren has steadily cemented herself as one of the frontrunners in the Democratic primary, recently taking a narrow lead for the first time in a new Iowa poll.
It also speaks to the financial resources that the campaign now has at its disposal. After a rocky start, Warren’s operation raised more than $19.1 million in the second quarter of the year, more than tripling what she amassed in the first quarter.