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Candidates race to raise funds before early voting starts

Local campaigns rake in cash despite high demand

Anna Lamb

With contested races for statewide, county and legislative offices little more than three months away from mail-in balloting, candidates are under pressure to raise funds and get their messages out on the airwaves.

“Winning an election requires getting your vision to voters, and that requires the financial resources to reach them,” said Boston City Councilor Riccardo Arroyo, who is running for Suffolk County district attorney.

Arroyo, like local candidates, faces the challenge of getting those resources in order before deposits on TV and radio ads are due in July. Additionally, with a gubernatorial race attracting much of the money and media attention, other candidates face an added challenge in gaining support.

In spite of the challenges, several candidates of color have positioned themselves in a good place — outraising their opponents and setting the stage for the next few months of intense campaigning.

Andrea Campbell, former Boston city councilor and candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General, logged $316,980 in receipts for her campaign and, as of March 31, had $502,481 on hand.

“I’m proud of that,” Campbell said of her fundraising lead, adding that she plans to continue her strategy of grassroots fundraising with her “Gateway Cities” tour -— approaching voters and donors across the Commonwealth.

“We’re going to have to continue to crisscross the state, to earn the support of residents and to tell them that resources are critically important to build a grassroots operation,” she said, “and striking a balance between the fundraising and getting out to connect with voters.”

Campbell’s fundraising is well ahead of opponents Quentin Palfrey, who reported $241,892 on hand, and Shannon Liss-Riordan, whose total of $687,308 includes a $500,000 loan she made to her campaign. But the funds of the down-ballot contenders pale in comparison to the amount of money being directed towards electing the next governor of Massachusetts. Maura Healey, the current attorney general, has $4.7 million on hand, far ahead of rival state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who reported just $368,117 on hand.

Bringing in a large proportion of donations under $100, Chang-Diaz’ campaign told news media in January that her run is being supported by working families and will beat “insiders’ assumptions.” The campaign did not respond in time to requests for an updated statement.

Also low on cash in the gubernatorial race is Republican challenger Geoff Diehl — state filings show his campaign reporting just $104,982, despite backing from former President Donald Trump. 

Candidates down-ballot competing with those in the higher offices have noted that the races add extra pressure to the fundraising demands necessary to come out on top in September.

“Though we are on target for our fundraising goals, when there are as many races happening at once, it’s certainly more challenging,” Arroyo told the Banner.

Arroyo has this year raised $291,962 compared to his opponent, current Suffolk County DA Kevin Hayden, who has pulled in $100,150.