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Looking at 4th Middlesex Fundraising

It’s crunch time in the election to replace Senator Havern. The primary is a week away. Yesterday was the deadline for the pre-primary campaign finance filing. It’s the first chance to see how the candidates are doing in the pocketbook. All of this information is from the Office of Campaign Finance. Unfortunately they don’t permit me to link to the individual reports; you have to search the candidates yourself and find more detail if you wish. In rank order:

Charley Murphy

Beginning Balance $37,517.29
Receipts $103,145.00
Subtotal $140,662.29
Expenditures $71,898.59
Ending Balance $68,763.70

Murphy started with the most, and raised second-most. He raised it with 553 donations averaging $180. They were almost all from Mass, and a few from out of state. 90% of the contributions are from individuals. 10% are from PACs, unions, and lobbyists. For his spending, his biggest ticket was $25,000 to Sage Consulting for database management and consulting. He has a paid staff person. He spent more than $10,000 on mailing. What’s not on this particular report is his upcoming TV ad.

Kenneth Donnelly

Beginning Balance $0.00
Receipts $108,146.84
Subtotal $108,146.84
Expenditures $71,866.40
Ending Balance $36,280.44

Donnelly isn’t an incumbent, so he has to start from zero – a real handicap. He overcame that by raising more than anyone else. He had 290 donations with an average of $360. Only 35% of his donations came from individuals. The rest came from unions and PACs, including a whopping $14,500 donation from Firefighters of Massachusetts (I was really surprised when I found out that this was legal. I can’t believe this exception to the $500 limit exists. It speaks volumes about who calls the shots in campaign finance law.). When you look closer, the firefighter unions really shelled out. Almost 100 different firefighter union local and states made donations, many from out of state. Half of the individual donation dollars came from current and retired firefighters. If Donnelly wins on Tuesday, he knows who to thank. Still, I can’t help but think that this base is too narrow, even in a 4-way primary. There are only so many firefighters in the district.

Jim Marzilli

Beginning Balance $14,612.00
Receipts $58,985.00
Subtotal $73,597.00
Expenditures $60,718.94
Ending Balance $12,878.06

Marzilli demonstrated that he can raise money when he needs to, more than he does in a House race, but he didn’t put up huge numbers. He had 375 donations for an average of $157. He donated $10,000 of his own money to the campaign. His data is totally mis-entered, so it’s hard to say for sure what the union/PAC/personal breakdown is. It appears to be all personal donations. Most of it is from in-state. For his expenditures, he spent $5000 on the VAN voter database. $37,000 has gone to printing and mailing. He also has a paid staff member.

Patrick Natale

Beginning Balance $15,955.56
Receipts $20,839.00
Subtotal $36,794.56
Expenditures $35,916.29
Ending Balance $878.27

Natale is not in the same league as the other three, but he still has a significant budget. He has 86 donations for an average of $217. 20% is from unions, and 80% from individuals. He spent $25,000 on printing and mailing. He also paid $5000 to American Fund Raising Group; given his fund raising receipts, I think he should demand a refund.

Brion Cangiamila

Beginning Balance $0.00
Receipts $1,970.00
Subtotal $1,970.00
Expenditures $2,175.11
Ending Balance ($205.11)

Yes, there is a Republican in this race. I don’t think the Democrats are worried about him at this point.


Comment from Bob Sprague
Time: November 10, 2007, 3:29 pm

Please explain what you mean when you write that Marzilli’s data is “totally mis-entered.” Thanks for clarifying.

Comment from dunster
Time: November 10, 2007, 3:43 pm

When you look at the Schedule A (Receipts) the donors are supposed to be coded as “I: Individual, C: Registered Committee, U: Union or Association, O: Other.” Marzilli’s donations are all coded as C or O, but it’s pretty clear that they really are mostly individuals, so they should be coded as I. These reports are all filed electronically, so I assume it is a data-entry error by the campaign treasurer.

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