Mayoral Candidates Spent $3.8M to Get Elected in 2015

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch

In a year without a Boston mayoral election, 61 mayoral candidates in 36 cities reported expenditures of $3,786,953 and receipts of $3,692,411 in 2015, according to a spending study compiled by OCPF. 

Activity in 2015 dropped significantly from 2013, when $8.8 million was spent and $8.5 million was raised in a year with a Boston mayoral election without an incumbent.

The most expensive 2015 race was in Quincy, where incumbent Mayor Thomas Koch faced former Mayor William Phelan.  The two spent $861,009.  The next highest total was in Revere, where incumbent Mayor Daniel Rizzo lost to Brian Michael Arrigo, a city councilor.  They spent $332,451.

One record was broken in 2015 – the amount spent per vote.  Koch received 12,425 votes and spent $687,687, an average of $55.35.  The previous record of $54.33 was set in 2013 by Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, who was not up for re-election in 2015.

The complete 2015 mayoral spending study is available by clicking here.


  • Koch topped the 2015 list in both fundraising and spending.  His receipt total was $552,762, and he reported $687,687 in expenditures.  Koch was able to spend more than he raised in 2015 because he already had a balance in his account from the previous year.
  • Eleven candidates raised more than $100,000, and 10 spent more than $100,000.
  • The top spender in the 24 contested elections won 18 times, or 75 percent of the contests.
  • Six candidates outspent their opponents and lost in Fall River, Gloucester, Holyoke, Revere, Waltham and West Springfield.
  • The average amount spent per vote by a candidate was $12.93.  The record of $20.96 was set in 2013.
  • The winning, opposed candidate with the smallest cost per vote was Mayor Kenneth Gray of Amesbury ($2.06).
  • The 36 winning candidates spent, on average, $65,388.  Unsuccessful candidates spent $57,318, on average.
  • A total of four mayoral races did not feature incumbents (Fitchburg, Medford, West Springfield and Westfield).

The study is limited to those candidates who were on the ballot in the November elections in cities and does not include those who were eliminated in preliminary elections.

Campaign Finance Activity by Mayoral Candidates (1997 to 2015)