Elizabeth Warren builds expansive Democratic campaign effort ahead of likely 2020 bid

BOSTON — During the past six months, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has quietly built a shadow war room designed to elect Democrats across the country in the midterm elections, overtaking some of the traditional duties of Democratic Party campaign committees and further positioning herself for an all-but-certain 2020 presidential bid.

Her effort, which goes far beyond the fund-raising and endorsement speeches in which prospective presidential candidates typically engage, has encompassed work in all 50 states and close coordination with more than 150 campaigns. The result is a wide-ranging network that includes those running for state treasurer in Nevada, state Legislature in Iowa and congressional offices around the country.

It is unmistakably aimed at some of the early-primary states that Warren would need to contest in a presidential campaign. She has deployed staffers to all four early-primary states as well as to traditional powerhouses like Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

‘‘I feel the urgency of the moment nationally,’’ Warren said in an interview. ‘‘It’s two parts: It’s holding Donald Trump accountable for what he does. It’s also trying to push this country toward working better for hard-working families.’’

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The Warren effort, while beneficial to a presidential campaign she said she will ‘‘take a hard look’’ at after the midterms, also signals how decentralized the national Democratic Party has become, as most of the energy is being generated by individuals who are building their own operations.

Warren is still helping the official campaign committees, but much of her work is independent of them and appears aimed at restocking a Democratic bench that has become woefully thin in recent years.

Warren, who has built a prodigious fund-raising network for her Senate campaign, has also raised or donated $7.6 million for other candidates and committees this cycle. On Monday, one of her aides said, she plans to donate another $460,000, which appears to place her ahead of most of her potential 2020 rivals except for Michael Bloomberg, who is spending $100 million of his own money on the midterms.

‘‘This is how you go about building relationships and acquiring chits for a future project,” said David Axelrod, a top political adviser to former president Barack Obama. “It’s very smart.’’

Warren’s midterm operation is housed in a back office of her Senate re-election headquarters here. Every day, about a half dozen staffers report to work.

Warren deliberately stayed out of almost every Democratic primary. But shortly after a winner was declared, Warren placed a congratulatory call — something she did for 172 candidates, by her staff’s tally — and offered campaign assistance. Someone from her staff was then assigned to the candidate to provide help or solicit requests.

Warren insists she is not ignoring her race in Massachusetts, in which she is the runaway favorite. She did her 37th town hall on Saturday and is slated for three debates with her Republican opponent, Geoff Diehl.

Warren says she would be doing the same thing regardless of any national plans. ‘‘This is about the urgency of now — of the importance of the midterms. And the long arc here is about investing in democracy, which stretches way beyond 2020,’’ she said.

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