Woonsocket Call

Ma­jor cash dis­par­ity in Mass. gu­ber­na­to­rial race

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BOS­TON (AP) — The race for gover­nor is shap­ing up to be the most lop­sided in Mas­sachusetts his­tory when it comes to cam­paign war ch­ests — and a state pro­gram aimed at re­ward­ing can­di­dates who vol­un­teer to rein in spend­ing isn’t likely to make much a dent in the dis­par­ity.

Elec­tions of­fi­cials this week an­nounced that nine Mas­sachusetts can­di­dates run­ning for statewide of­fice have opted to par­tic­i­pate in the state’s pub­lic fi­nanc­ing pro­gram.

They in­clude the two Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates, Jay Gon­za­lez and Bob Massie, and Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial hope­ful Scott Lively, all of whom agreed to cam­paign spend­ing lim­its.

Specif­i­cally, the three agreed to limit their cam­paign spend­ing to $1.5 mil­lion for the pri­mary and $1.5 mil­lion for the gen­eral elec­tion. In re­turn, each can­di­date is el­i­gi­ble for up to $750,000 for each of the two cam­paign pe­ri­ods, if funds are avail­able.

While that may sound like a size­able chunk, it’s nowhere near the more than $8 mil­lion and count­ing that Repub­li­can Gov. Char­lie Baker has al­ready stock­piled as of the end of May. Baker has opted not to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram.

Also not par­tic­i­pat­ing is Baker’s se­cond in com­mand, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who has about $3.6 mil­lion in her ac­count, bring­ing the com­bined Baker-Polito to­tal — as­sum­ing Baker fends off a long-shot pri­mary chal­lenge from Lively — to more than $11.6 mil­lion in cash on hand with the gen­eral elec­tion more than five months off.

In con­trast, Gon­za­lez, who re­cently won his party’s en­dorse­ment, has about $172,000 in cash in his cam­paign ac­count, com­pared to Massie with about $24,000 and Lively with about $13,000.

While the amount of money in the State Elec­tion Cam­paign Fund that will be avail­able to par­tic­i­pat­ing can­di­dates will be de­ter­mined in early July, offi- cials from the state Of­fice of Cam­paign and Po­lit­i­cal Fi­nance es­ti­mates that the amount of avail­able funds will top out at about $1.2 mil­lion to be di­vided evenly be­tween the pri­mary and gen­eral elec­tion cam­paigns.

That means that if the three can­di­dates for gover­nor who are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pub­lic fi­nanc­ing sys­tem — Gon­za­lez, Massie and Lively — reach a min­i­mum thresh­old of $75,000 in qual­i­fy­ing match­ing con­tri­bu­tions for the pri­mary, there won’t be any money avail­able for other statewide can­di­dates in the pri­mary.

On Thurs­day, Baker de­clared he would spend no more than $9 mil­lion in the pri­mary, as re­quired by the pub­lic fi­nanc­ing law.

Un­der the law, the $9 mil­lion cap now also ap­plies to Lively.

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