Representative Edward J. Markey has hired the two staffers who helped Senator Elizabeth Warren raise a record-setting $42 million last fall to fill the same role for his planned US Senate campaign.
Michael Pratt, who served as Warren’s national finance director, and Colleen Coffey, who headed fund-raising in Massachusetts, were labeled a “dynamic duo’’ by one Democrat familiar with the hirings who confirmed them for the Globe.
Pratt and Coffey helped Warren outraise not only her Republican rival, then-Senator Scott Brown, but every other 2012 congressional candidate in the country.
Their hirings add to the momentum Markey has built as the Malden Democrat girds to mount a campaign to replace Senator John F. Kerry, who is expected to resign to become the country’s next secretary of state.
A key Washington fund-raising organization – the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – has already endorsed Markey, as have former Representative Barney Frank and Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Kerry has also said he supports Markey’s decision to run and plans to vote for him, and today the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund announced its endorsement of him.
Markey is trying to convince fellow Representatives Michael E. Capuano and Stephen F. Lynch not to challenge him for the Democratic nomination.
He already holds a significant fund-raising advantage: Markey has $3.1 million in the bank, while Lynch has less than a quarter of that – $740,000 – and Capuano has less than one-sixth – $491,000.
The Warren staff hirings could also put pressure on Brown, who is still weighing his own bid for the Republican nomination. The Wrentham resident raised about $30 million for his campaign – a sizable sum but still about 30 percent less than Warren.
Financial concerns today prompted state Senator Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield to announce that he would not run for the Democratic nomination.
“I know that every consideration – especially financial – must be made before a race of this type is undertaken,’’ Downing said in a statement.
Capuano and Lynch have said they will announce their final decision after Kerry is confirmed and resigns his seat. That is expected to occur later this month.
In its statement today, the LCV Action Fund cited Markey’s strong environmental record in deciding to back him.
“There’s been no greater champion in Congress for the clean energy economy than Ed Markey,’’ said Scott Nathan, chairman of the League of Conservation Voters. “He has never stopped fighting for Massachusetts – promoting new technologies and green jobs, standing up to corporate polluters, and putting the health of our families first. Ed Markey is the leader Massachusetts needs in the US Senate.’’
Markey’s voting record has earned him a 94 percent lifetime score on the LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard.
Meanwhile. Governor Deval Patrick, who will have to appoint an interim senator when Kerry resigns, today sloughed off a comment by Frank, who publicly declared last week that he had asked the governor for the appointment.
During a subsequent interview with the National Journal, Frank said it would be “pretty petty’’ for Patrick to pass him over for the job because the former congressman divulged what the governor thought was a private conversation.
“Guess what?’’ Patrick told reporters gathered outside his State House office. “I’m going to choose someone and all the other people on my list are going to be mad that they didn’t get chosen. I’m ready for that, so just relax. We will get to this when we get to it.’’
The governor added that it was a “blessing’’ that he has so many qualified candidates to choose for the interim job, and that he would not base his decision on public pressure.