BOSTON — Members of Massachusetts’ all-Democratic congressional delegation are stockpiling campaign cash as they head into another election year, with many relying heavily on contributions from political action committees as they try to hold off Republicans intent on breaking their grip.
The GOP hopes to win back seats in the U.S. House after a 16-year drought and recapture one of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats.
Two of the state’s most closely watched contests are in the 6th and 9th congressional districts.
In the 6th district, incumbent Democrat John Tierney of Salem is again facing a challenge from Republican Richard Tisei, a former state senator who narrowly lost to Tierney in 2012. Tierney is also facing two Democratic challengers: immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco and Salem resident Seth Moulton.
According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Tierney raised $957,748 in contributions last year. About 46 percent of those contributions ($440,400) came from political committees.
He started 2014 with $708,940 left in his account.
Tisei started the year with $394,005, after raising $306,599 in contributions in 2013, with just 9 percent ($27,600) coming from PACs.
In the 9th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Rep. William Keating will face the winner of a four-way Republican primary.
Keating, who lives in Bourne, raised $334,246 in contributions last year. About 69 percent of those ($230,700) came from PACs.
The four Republicans candidates include John Chapman, Dan Shores, Vincent Cogliano and Mark Alliegro.
Other Democratic incumbents who haven’t yet drawn challengers relied heavily on PACs to bulk up their campaign coffers.
Rep. Richard Neal of the 1st Congressional District ended 2013 with nearly $2.4 million in his account. He also had some of the highest contributions from PACs. Of the $840,056 he raised in contributions last year, about 84 percent ($708,838) came from political committees.
Of the $269,434 raised by 8th Congressional District Rep. Michael Capuano last year in contributions, about 82 percent ($221,754) came from PACs.
Republicans have traditionally faced a hard slog trying to win congressional elections in Massachusetts. The last two Republican members of the state’s House delegation – former Reps. Peter Blute and Peter Torkildsen – both lost re-election bids in 1996.
The only Republican to represent the state in Washington since then was former Sen. Scott Brown, who won a special election in 2010 but lost a 2012 re-election bid to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is also facing re-election this year.
The Malden Democrat had more than $1.4 million in his campaign account heading into 2014.
Markey has already drawn a Republican challenger – Brian Herr, a Republican businessman and selectman in the town of Hopkinton. Herr announced his candidacy last month and hasn’t filed a fundraising report yet.
Markey served 36 years in the U.S. House before won a special election in June 2013 to fill the remainder of John Kerry’s term in the Senate after Kerry was confirmed as U.S. secretary of state.
Markey raised $10.2 million in contributions last year to help fund his Senate run. Of that, about 15 percent ($1.5 million) came from PACs.
Markey is seeking a full six-year term that would begin in January.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t facing re-election this year.
According to FEC reports, Warren collected close to $1.7 million in contributions during 2013, with just $25,000 – or less than 2 percent – coming from political committees. She ended the year with $861,987 left in her account.