All major mayoral fundraising and expenditure records, which former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino held during his 21 years as mayor, were eclipsed during the 2013 election, according to a study of campaign finance reports filed by mayoral finalists.
The 63 mayoral candidates in 2013 reported total expenditures of $8.8 million and receipts of $8.5 million – both records. Candidates also reset the record book on totals per race, totals per vote and totals for individuals.
The driving factor was the Boston mayoral race, which opened up just seven months before the general election with Menino’s announced retirement from public office.
Boston mayoral finalists Martin Walsh, a former state representative, and John Connolly, a former city councilor, reported total combined expenditures of $6,020,548 for the calendar year, the highest total for any mayoral race in state history. The previous record of $4.1 million was set in 2009 by Menino and his opponent, Michael Flaherty.
As an individual campaign, Walsh reported spending $3,015,209 in 2013, breaking the mark set by Menino in 2009 ($2.7 million). Walsh only exceeded Connolly’s expenditure total by $9,870.
Walsh also set the fundraising record in 2013, doubling the previous mark of $1.5 million, set by Menino in 2009. Walsh’s final tally for the year was $3,004,406, followed by Connolly at $2.8 million.
New per-vote records were also set. The average spent per vote by all candidates in 2013 was $20.96, breaking the previous mark of $16.52 in 2009. Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria broke the individual record at $54.33 per vote. The previous record of $42.40 was set by Menino in 2009.
On the other end of the spending spectrum, Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini logged the smallest per-vote total for an opposed, winning candidate: $1.72 per vote. The contested race with the least spending was in Gardner, where Mayor Mark Hawke and challenger Christine Wilson spent a total of $13,143.
Incumbents lost in five cities – Thatcher Kezer, Amesbury; Linda Balzotti, Brockton; Michael Bissonnette, Chicopee; William Lantigua, Lawrence; and Gregory Neffinger, West Springfield. Of those five, Balzotti, Lantigua and Neffinger spent less than their challengers.
OCPF began issuing mayoral studies after the 1997 city elections. The 2013 study is available by clicking here, and is limited to those candidates who were on the ballot in the November election in cities and does not include those who were eliminated in preliminary elections.
However, it is worth noting that 12 candidates ran for mayor in Boston and spent a total of $10,945,919 in 2013.
Of those 12 candidates, four exceeded the $1 million mark. In addition to Walsh and Connolly, Daniel Conley spent $1.78 million and Michael Ross spent $1.05 million. Only data from the two finalists, Walsh and Connolly, are included in the study.
Outside groups also reported $3,837,805 in independent expenditures to support the two Boston mayoral finalists. Independent expenditures can be made without limit to support or oppose candidates, provided the expenditure is not coordinated with any candidate campaigns. Such groups reported spending $2.5 million to support Walsh and $1.3 million to support Connolly. Those figures are not included in the study.
OCPF is an independent state agency that administers Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 55, which provides for disclosure and regulation of campaign finance activity by candidates for state, county and municipal office. Mayoral candidates in cities with populations between 40,000 and 100,000, and mayoral candidates in Springfield and Worcester, filed campaign finance reports with OCPF in 2013. Other mayoral candidates filed disclosure reports with their local election officials (city clerks or election commissioners).
Campaign Finance Activity by Mayoral Candidates in Municipal General Elections
1997 – 2013