(CNN) – Elizabeth Warren took her first formal step Thursday toward launching a candidacy against Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts.
The Harvard University law school professor and former Obama administration official filed the paperwork needed to create an exploratory committee and launched a website, http://www.elizabethforma.com, to draw contributions and volunteers and build support.
"Elizabeth has spent the last week listening to people from across the Commonwealth as she considers a campaign for the US Senate. She wants to continue this conversation and the exploratory committee will allow her to do so," Warren spokesman Kyle Sullivan told CNN.
According to a source close to Warren, the move will allow potential supporters to engage and will allow for Warren to raise money. The source also added that Warren could make a final decision on whether to launch a bid sometime after Labor Day.
Last September, Warren was named a special adviser by President Obama to oversee the development of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This year she was in contention but was not nominated as the director of the new bureau.
Seven declared candidates are already in the race for next year's Democratic Senate nomination in Massachusetts, but none have strong name recognition and some national Democrats are concerned that none of the existing candidates would be able to effectively challenge Brown, who made national headlines by beating Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley in a special election early last year to replace the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, who held the seat for nearly five decades.
Earlier this week the Washington DC-based Progressive Change Campaign Committee announced it's raised over $77,000 in the hope that Warren would jump into the race. The liberal organization announced Monday they would immediately be able to make the funds raised available to Warren should she decide to pursue the Democratic senate nomination.
Fundraising would be crucial to a Warren campaign. Brown's re-election campaign has approximately $10 million cash in hand to put toward his efforts and polls indicate he is popular in the state.
– CNN's Laura Koran contributed to this report.
– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN