Elizabeth Warren rallies donors as Marine veteran, crypto attorney John Deaton announces Senate challenge

Deaton developed a strong following for his opinions on crypto, government regulation

Massachusetts' famously anti-crypto senator, Elizabeth Warren, is frantically rallying her donor base to help her fight off a GOP challenge to her Senate seat from a pro-crypto attorney seeking to unseat her in November, FOX Business has learned.

According to an email to donors viewed by FOX Business, Warren, a Democrat who has held her seat for more than 10 years and is considered among the most powerful and progressive voices in the upper chamber, is asking supporters to "rush" donations in order "to prepare to compete against funding from powerful special interests, Wall Street, and the GOP."

The email was sent following reports, including social media posts from FOX Business, that crypto attorney John Deaton had moved to Massachusetts from Rhode Island to take on Warren as a Republican.

Deaton officially announced his Senate campaign on Tuesday morning.

Elizabeth Warren John Deaton Massachusetts Senate

John Deaton officially announced his Senate campaign on Tuesday morning. (Getty Images/John Deaton campaign)

In response, Warren sent a follow-up email to donors referring to Deaton as a "well-funded Republican," who she says is "trying to stop us from taxing the wealthy, regulating big banks, and making our government work for working people."

She closes by asking for donors to "pitch in $28 or anything you can" to her re-election campaign.

Warren's prior email, sent out last week, notes Deaton as a "big cheerleader for crypto interests."

"Ever since I began speaking out about protecting consumers from crypto scams and making that industry follow the same basic regulations as banks and all other financial institutions, the crypto lobby has put a target on my back," the email read.


A former U.S. Marine judge advocate and an asbestos lawyer by trade, Deaton has achieved folk-hero status in a corner of the crypto business for his criticism of the Securities and Exchange Commission in its lawsuit against cross-border payments company Ripple Labs for engaging in what it alleged to be illegal sales of the cryptocurrency XRP to fund the development of its business.

Deaton, himself an investor in digital assets, has developed a strong following on X for his opinions on crypto and what he sees as the federal government’s unfair approach to regulating it. Deaton believes the SEC was overstepping its legal authority when it declared all sales of XRP, including those made by retail investors on crypto exchanges like Coinbase, illegal unregistered securities when it sued Ripple in 2020.

In 2022, he was granted by the presiding judge in the case the position of "amicus curiae," or friend of the court, where he represented 75,000 global owners of the XRP token. Deaton owns XRP as well as a handful of other crypto tokens.


Deaton’s involvement helped make the Ripple case one of the most talked about in the worlds of crypto and securities law. When a judge ruled in July that sales of the XRP token in the secondary markets did not constitute securities, Deaton was hailed for his work on the case, fighting for the interests of retail investors whose holdings in XRP, some significant amounts, were frozen for the duration of the three-year lawsuit.

"I’m excited for the opportunity to fight for change, and for the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate," said Deaton. "Washington, D.C., is broken, and in more than a decade in office, Elizabeth Warren has done nothing to fix it — in fact, she’s become a big part of the problem."

Warren, for her part, is widely considered unbeatable by many in the world of politics. A law professor who was elected to the Senate in 2012, Warren is known for her progressive policies, favorable among the Democratic Party, including creating a wealth tax, rallying against the political and economic influences of Wall Street and corporate America as well as big tech.

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 13, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images / Getty Images)

More recently, Warren has become one of the Senate's foremost critics of crypto. She has pushed for laws that would significantly hamper the nascent industry’s viability in the U.S. She is also a significant supporter of SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and his crackdown on the digital assets business.


Warren has claimed that digital assets are the preferred method for funding Middle East terrorist groups, despite U.S. Treasury officials arguing that terrorists’ use of digital assets for funding purposes is not as prevalent as previous media reports have suggested.

"Look, I'm not afraid, but this now means we need to prepare to compete against funding from powerful special interests, Wall Street, and the GOP," Warren’s email to donors concluded.

It is too early to know how much support Deaton will get outside the crypto industry, but Warren may yet have a reason to be worried come November.