Friday, October 29, 2004
Contributions rise in state elections
Contributions to candidates for state office reached new highs this election season with funds coming from both individuals and, in some races, the candidates themselves. The election is also notable for the sums received by Republican candidates from the Massachusetts Republican Party.
Fargo vs. Thibault
In the Third Middlesex Senate race, Republican John Thibault has raised over $250,000 in his campaign to unseat Democrat incumbent Susan Fargo, two and half times as much as Fargo's $100,000 in contributions. The $350,000 in donations received by both candidates so far is one of the highest in state elections this year and sets a new record for contributions for this district.
In a report filed with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Thibault also lists an additional $130,000 received as in-kind donations of goods and services (not cash). The Massachusetts Republican Party contributed significantly to his campaign giving him $70,000 of in-kind services, including several mass mailings. Republicans also provided him with voter lists, research and access to a web site developed by the party, according to the candidate.
Thibault contributed about $150,000 of his own funds to his campaign along with an additional $50,000 listed as services including printing and rent for his two campaign offices in Chelmsford and Waltham. A Chelmsford businessman, Thibault is the former CEO of GeoTel Communications, a telecommunications company sold in 1999 to Cisco Systems reportedly for $2 billion in stock.
Records also show Fargo loaned her own campaign $30,000 in September, making up 30 percent of her contributions. Because it's a loan, the money may be repaid to Fargo by her campaign office in the future, according to her Chief of Staff Don Siriani. She also loaned funds for her campaign in two previous election years, said Siriani, and she has been partially repaid for those loans.
Both candidates have spent their campaign funds mostly on mailings and on political consulting services. Susan Fargo sent out a mailer to all voters in the district this week and more mailers are planned before the election, according to Siriani. At least six postcards from the Republican Party were sent out on Thibault's behalf in the last few weeks. The cards were given final approval by Thibault and were mailed in batches of 45-50,000 to groups of voters.
The Third Middlesex Senate district covers nine towns from Chelmsford in the north to Waltham in the south and includes Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Weston, and parts of Lexington and Sudbury. Fargo lives in Lincoln and has been in the state senate since 1996.
Atkins vs. Stevenson
In the 14th Middlesex State Representative race between Democrat incumbent Cory Atkins of Concord and Republican challenger Doug Stevenson of Carlisle, total contributions for both candidates is $162,000. Atkins' $107,000 in contributions is about double the amount raised by Stevenson, who has $55,000 from contributors. The state Republican Party also contributed an additional $9,000 of in-kind services to Stevenson for computer support and research. This week the party sent out a mailer to voters in the district on Stevenson's behalf.
Mailings are being sent by the state Republican Party in several contested state races this election to support Republican candidates seeking seats in the Democrat-controlled legislature.
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