Baker PAC spends more backing GOP candidates

Total over last 2 months tops $900,000

A SUPER PAC with close ties to Gov. Charlie Baker poured another $373,000 into state races over the last several days, nearly all of it to support Republicans.

The latest expenditures bring the Massachusetts Majority PAC’s total spending over the last two months to $901,760, a sum that suggests the governor is worried that a flood of Democratic voters will turn out next Tuesday with the potential to swamp Republicans whose numbers are already small on Beacon Hill.

The biggest beneficiary of the super PAC’s spending was Republican Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry McDermott. The PAC spent $167,148 on his behalf in his race against Democrat Patrick McDermott.

The PAC spent $74,023 in support of Stephanie Fattman, the Republican register of probate in Worcester County, who is facing a challenge from a former employee, Democrat John Dolan III.

Baker’s PAC also spent heavily trying to prevent the Republican Party from losing more ground in the state Senate, where the GOP currently holds just four seats. The PAC supported incumbent Republican Sens. Ryan Fattman of Webster and Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth with advertising expenditures of $53,251 and $53,594, respectively. The PAC also spent $50,244 supporting Republican challenger Matthew Kelly of Franklin, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Becca Rausch of Needham.

The PAC did not support Republican Sen. Dean Tran, who is facing a challenge from political newcomer John Cronin. Cronin has hammered Tran for losing his leadership position and being barred from his office for using State House staff to do campaign work. The PAC also didn’t support Sen. Bruce Tarr, a Gloucester Republican who is running unopposed.

Baker’s PAC in the past has spread its financial support around among Republicans and Democrats. But in recent days the PAC has focused nearly all of its resources on Republicans. The only Democrats to receive support were Thomas Hoye Jr. of Taunton, who is running for register of probate in Bristol County (the PAC spent $49,071 backing him) against Independent Melanie Layden, and Rep. Gerald Parisella of Beverly ($3,125), who is facing a challenge from independent Euplio Marciano of Beverly.

Hoye is the former mayor of Taunton, who stepped down when Baker nominated him for the register of probate job, creating a vacancy that then-Rep. Shauna O’Connell, a Republican, filled, with help from Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The officials who run Baker’s PAC don’t discuss their decisions about whom to support, but in the past the PAC has backed moderate candidates from both parties. While that remains generally true, many of the candidates the PAC supported in recent days have views on some social issues that are different from the governor.

For example, Sens. Fattman and O’Connor are both rated pro-life by Massachusetts Citizens for Life, as are a number of state rep candidates the PAC supported, including Reps. Fred Barrows of Mansfield, Donald Berthiaume Jr. of Spencer, Nicholas Boldyga of Southwick, David DeCoste of Norwell, Paul Frost of Auburn, Sheila Harrington of Groton, Marc Lombardo of Billerica, and Mathew Muratore of Plymouth.