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Incumbency has its benefits — chief among them the ability to raise money hand over fist compared to the competition.
That political truism can be seen in stark relief this election cycle from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill, where those already in power have demonstrated the ability to rake in millions more than their challengers in campaign donations, regardless of party.
Nowhere is that money gap more lopsided in Massachusetts than in the state's two premier political contests — the races for governor and U.S. senator.
Despite having already spent millions on his re-election effort, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is heading into the final weeks of the campaign with millions more at his disposal.
As of mid-October, Baker reported having about $4.5 million left in his campaign account. Running mate Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito reported a $2.8 million balance in her account, giving the GOP team about $7.3 million combined.
That doesn't include nearly $6.6 million already spent by an outside political action committee — the Commonwealth Future Independent Expenditure PAC — supporting Baker's re-election, much of that on television ads. Nearly all of the money funneled into the PAC has come from the Republican Governors Association.
By contrast, Baker's Democratic challenger, Jay Gonzalez, reported a balance of just over $677,000 in his campaign account as of Oct 15. His running mate, Quentin Palfrey, reported having about $55,000 — bringing their combined cash on hand to more than $732,000.
That includes about $542,000 in matching public funds awarded to Gonzalez this month after he agreed to a campaign spending cap. Baker chose not to seek public financing and set his own cap of up to $20 million.
Unlike Baker, Gonzalez has not received significant financial backing from national Democratic groups like the Democratic Governors Association, which has largely sat out the race so far.
Gonzalez has struggled against the popular Republican governor, and has trailed Baker by significant margins in polls ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
The dynamic is much the same in the U.S. Senate race, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren has raised vast sums compared to her Republican challenger, Geoff Diehl.
As of the end of September, Warren had reported raising more than $24 million since January 2017, with more than $15 million left in her account. Warren, a possible candidate for president in 2020, recently released her first two 30-second television ads of the campaign.
Diehl, by contrast, reported having raised $2.4 million since declaring his candidacy in April 2017, and had less than $300,000 remaining in his campaign account as of the end of September.
Independent candidate Shiva Ayyadurai reported having $94,000 left in his account as of Sept. 30.
The fundraising disparities aren't limited to the state's two marquee campaigns.
In the race for attorney general, Democratic incumbent Maura Healey reported having nearly $2.2 million in her account as of mid-October, compared to close to $15,000 for her Republican challenger Jay McMahon, an attorney from Cape Cod.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin reported having more than $70,000 in cash as of Sept. 30. Galvin had nearly $900,000 in his account in June, but spent much of it in a tough Democratic primary race, defeating Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim.
Galvin's Republican challenger, Anthony Amore, reported having about $20,000 in his account as of Sept. 30. Green-Rainbow candidate Juan Sanchez had less than $1,000.
In the race for state treasurer, Democratic incumbent Deb Goldberg reported having $596,000 in her account as of Oct. 15, compared to $56,000 for Republican challenger Keiko Orrall and less than $1,000 for Green-Rainbow candidate Jamie Guerin.
And in the four-way battle for state auditor, Democratic incumbent Suzanne Bump reported having about $164,000 in her campaign account as of Oct. 15, compared to just over $4,000 each for Republican Helen Brady and Libertarian Daniel Fishman and about $300 for Green-Rainbow candidate Edward Stamas.
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