Baker-linked super PAC bets big on Hodgson

Also spends money on behalf 3 GOP Senate candidates

A SUPER PAC with close ties to Gov. Charlie Baker reported spending $294,000 on behalf of 33 state candidates on Friday, with the biggest amounts going to support Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and three Republicans vying for Senate seats.

The Massachusetts Majority super PAC, which its chairman says supports “a bipartisan slate of political centrists,” spent $32,125 on digital advertising on behalf of Hodgson, a big supporter of former president Donald Trump. Hodgson is being challenged by Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux.

The PAC spent $23,312 on behalf of William E. Johnson of Granby, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Jacob Oliveira of Ludlow for the Senate seat being vacated by Eric Lesser; $20,995 on behalf of Edward F. Dombrowski Jr., of Wakefield, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Jason Lewis of Winchester; and $20,176 on behalf of Rep. Shawn Dooley of Norfolk, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Becca Rausch of Needham.

The super PAC also backed Republican Daniel Higgins, who is running for district attorney of the Cape and Islands, with a $17,625 digital advertising buy. It also backed two Republican sheriff candidates — Timothy Whelan in Barnstable County and Lewis Evangelides in Worcester County – with ad buys of $17,625 and $17,625, respectively.

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, but they are barred from coordinating activities with any campaigns they support. A lot of the Massachusetts Majority PAC’s money is raised by Baker and the goal of the organization is to support centrist candidates.

Many would argue Hodgson is not a centrist, particularly on immigration issues, but Baker has explained his endorsement of the sheriff by saying he doesn’t always agree with candidates he supports but must be able to have an honest conversation with them. He says Hodgson, a long-time friend, is a straight-shooter.

The $294,000 was spent by the Massachusetts Majority PAC between October 14 and October 19. The PAC spent another $130,000 between September 6 and October 13, and will probably spend a lot more between now and the November 8 election.

The latest expenditures were on behalf of 25 Republicans, six Democrats, one Independent, and one Unenrolled candidate. Fifteen of the candidates also received money in the initial outlay of funds by the PAC for the general election.

The Democrats the super PAC is supporting include Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport and Reps. Simon Cataldo of Concord, Rodney Elliott of Lowell, Coleen Garry of Dracut, Jonathan Zlotnik of Gardner, and Michael Kushmerek of Fitchburg.