Crypto attorney weighs challenging Warren

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BOSTON — A prominent cryptocurrency attorney is looking to challenge Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the leading digital assets critic in Congress, according to two Massachusetts Republicans familiar with the matter.

John Deaton is taking a “serious look” at running as a Republican against the state’s senior senator and former Democratic presidential candidate, Jim Conroy, a political adviser to former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker — who has been consulting with Deaton on a likely run — told POLITICO. The Boston Globe first reported the news.

Deaton would be the first major challenger in either party to emerge against Warren, who is seeking a third term. But he would still be considered a long shot against Warren, who remains popular here and had $3.9 million in the bank at the start of the year.

“Senator Warren is taking nothing for granted. She has a strong record of delivering for working families and continues to fight hard for the people of Massachusetts,” a spokesperson for Warren said in a statement.

Deaton is weighing entering the race as the cryptocurrency industry is ramping up an aggressive effort to influence the 2024 elections. An industry-backed super PAC that has more than $80 million in the bank made its first major splash this week with a multimillion-dollar ad buy attacking Democrat Katie Porter, a Warren protégé, in the California Senate primary.

And a pro-crypto Republican is running to challenge Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in the closely watched Ohio race that could determine the balance of power in the chamber.

Warren has positioned herself as one of Congress’ most prominent crypto skeptics, aggressively pushing legislation that would crack down on the industry from her perch on the Banking Committee. She warns frequently of fraud in crypto markets and has fought against industry-backed legislation that House Republicans are pursuing.

Deaton has challenged Warren’s crypto views on X, formerly Twitter, and previously helped fight an SEC lawsuit against Ripple Labs.

Deaton’s resume goes beyond crypto advocacy. The former U.S. Marine who hails from a Detroit enclave, Deaton overcame an impoverished and violent childhood to graduate law school and start his own firm representing asbestos victims. He is a cancer survivor and the author of the book “Food Stamp Warrior.”