WASHINGTON -- It's looking like former consumer advocate and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has the golden touch when it comes to fundraising.
The Democrat's campaign to oust Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) hauled in $5.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, or nearly double the $3.2 million raised by Brown in the same period.
Warren launched an exploratory committee in mid-August, and declared her candidacy in mid-September, raising $3.15 million that quarter. The ex-Harvard professor's combined take gives her nearly $9 million in four months.
While Warren's torrid fundraising pace puts her on the path to becoming the top buck-raker of the 2012 race after the White House contestants, Brown's skills at passing the hat are not shabby. After the last quarter, he had an impressive $12.8 million in the bank for what is shaping up to be the most costly Senate battle in the country.
Warren's campaign has not revealed how much of that $9 million she has spent, so it's unclear how far she has to go to catch up to Brown in overall funding.
Still, having banked more than the $8.5 million Brown grabbed in all of last year, Warren is likely to catch up and is raising cash at a rate that compares to that of Hillary Clinton in her last Senate race before she aimed at the White House.
Republicans have already tried to turn Warren's fundraising prowess against her, using it to cast the incumbent Brown as the underdog in the race and arguing that the famously anti-Wall Street Warren inevitably receives some of her money -- or the money that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spends on her behalf -- from the financial industry.
However, so does Brown, and Massachusetts is an expensive advertising state that will require both to spend heavily. Brown and his Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley, together spent $20.6 million in the 2010 special election.
Luke Johnson contributed reporting.
Update 6:30 p.m.: This story was updated to include the start of Warren's exploratory committee.
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