BOSTON Elizabeth Warren, who locked horns with Wall Street while creating a consumer protection agency during the U.S. bank bailout, is being urged to run for the Senate seat once held by another populist, Edward Kennedy.
Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, would become by far the highest profile Democrat in what could be an uphill fight against popular Republican incumbent Scott Brown.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee launched a "Draft Elizabeth Warren for Senate!" campaign on Monday and is raising money in case she runs. Earlier this year, the group signed up hundreds of thousands of supporters in a failed bid for Warren to lead the consumer protection agency she helped create.
"Elizabeth Warren has a track record of holding Wall Street accountable and fighting for regular people like us," the group said on its website.
Warren was not immediately available for comment on whether she is interested in a Senate campaign. Earlier on Monday, she told MSNBC that she was giving the matter some thought.
A 62-year-old native of Oklahoma, Warren is known for her views on the need for greater financial protections for consumers and for asserting that U.S. policy has been tilted too far in favor of powerful business interests.
Those ideas, regularly expressed in television interviews and in her work building the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and as chair of the congressional panel created to oversee the 2008 U.S. banking bailout, often put Warren at odds with the banking industry.
Fierce opposition from Republicans in Congress was thought to have stopped President Barack Obama from nominating Warren to run the new agency. Instead, he chose former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, a close ally of Warren.
Warren would give Democrats a much better chance to win back the seat that slipped through their hands in 2010.
For his part, Brown, 51, shocked the U.S. political world when he won a special election to fill the remainder of Kennedy's six-year term after he died of a brain tumor in August 2009. Since then, Brown has leveraged his high national profile into a large campaign warchest.
Some political analysts say Warren, with her high name recognition and populist rhetoric, would likely fare better against Brown than other potential Democratic contenders in 2012.
A best-selling author and respected academic who taught commercial and contract law, Warren was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009 and 2010 and Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe in 2009.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu and Mark Egan)