Baker PAC does well backing incumbent Dems
Of 22 campaigns, 3 losses came in riskier efforts
THE SUPER PAC with ties to Gov. Charlie Baker did very well on primary night, but the results were skewed because so many of the candidates it supported were incumbents and heavy favorites.
Overall, the Massachusetts Majority PAC spent $154,687 in August backing 22 candidates – 18 Democrats and four Republicans, mostly for state legislative seats. Nineteen of the PAC’s candidates won, including three Democrats and two Republicans who were running for open House seats, according to official and unofficial returns. The Democrats were Rob Consalvo of Boston, Jessica Giannino of Revere, and Ted Philips of Sharon and the Republicans were Kelly Pease of Westfield and Steven Xiarhos of Barnstable.
The Massachusetts Majority PAC, which is financially supported by well-connected business officials, tends to support moderate Democrats and Republicans. The PAC reflects Baker’s aversion for lefty progressives as well as conservative Trump Republicans. Baker, who does not support President Trump, recently described himself as a member of the “pragmatic and practical Republican Party.”
All 14 incumbents backed by the PAC won. The three losses came when the PAC supported candidates who had launched riskier campaigns. For example, Massachusetts Majority backed John Lally, a young Brockton city councilor, who mounted an unsuccessful challenge against incumbent Rep. Michelle DuBois of Brockton. DuBois had describedLally as very conservative – “a Democrat in name only.”
Wang described himself in a Patch candidate profile as someone who would “represent a more moderate viewpoint,” while Dufour said in a similar profile that he wanted “to become a common sense voice for the people of this district, whose views are more conservative than those of our current representative. Right now, our focus should be on reviving our economy, while controlling spending and taxes.”
The Baker PAC’s biggest swing and a miss came in a race for the Governor’s Council. The PAC spent $48,000 on direct mail advertising supporting political newcomer Padraic Rafferty, who was taking on Paul DePalo in a Democratic primary race for the Governor’s Council seat from the Worcester area.
The Governor’s Council votes on judicial and magistrate appointments made by the governor. Rafferty and DePalo were running for a seat vacated by Jennie Caissie, the lone Republican on the council and a strong backer of Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Caissie left the seat in 2019 when Baker appointed her the clerk magistrate of Dudley District Court; her appointment passed the Governor’s Council on a 5-2 vote.
DePalo ran against Caissie in 2018 and came up short, but he won the support of many of the district’s top Democrats. He supports revamping the juvenile justice system, while Rafferty voted for Caissie in 2016 and works at a law firm that has been a big supporter of Polito.
Rafferty loaned his campaign $25,000 and Massachusetts Majority poured nearly $48,000 into the race for direct mail advertising in support of Rafferty. Combined, Rafferty and the PAC spent about $90,000 on the race, more than four times what DePalo spent.
In August, DePalo expressed concern that Rafferty and Baker were trying to buy the seat. On Tuesday night, however, he said his work in the district and his campaigning for change in the criminal justice system resonated with voters.“Organization and relationships matter more than money,” he said. “The overwhelming support that the voters have given us is a pleasant surprise.”
The other incumbents backed by the PAC included Democratic Sens. Nick Collins of Boston and Walter Timilty of Milton as well as Democratic Reps. William Galvin of Canton, Daniel Ryan of Boston, David Rogers of Cambridge, Frank Moran of Lawrence, Jerald Parisella of Beverly, Joseph McGonagle of Everett, John Lawn of Watertown, John Rogers of Norwood, Kevin Honan of Boston, and Paul Donato of Medford. The PAC also supported incumbent Republican Rep. Nick Boldyga of Southwick.