Going behind the vote totals in legislative races
Look who did and did not contribute to Nguyen
A correction has been made to this story.
THE OVERALL OUTCOME of Tuesday’s legislative races wasn’t all that dramatic – Democrats, who already dominate on Beacon Hill, picked up three more seats – but there were some interesting trends and tidbits for political junkies.
The cost of a campaign for a legislative seat typically runs between $20,000 and $70,000, but there are outlier races where spending seems to spiral upward. In this election cycle, Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez’s bid to hold on to his seat in Jamaica Plain went into the spending stratosphere. According to campaign finance records, Sanchez spent a total of $352,857 on what turned out to be an unsuccessful campaign. His rival, newcomer Nika Elugardo, upset him in the Democratic primary, spending $126,821. She was unopposed in the final.
The other big outlier was Tram Nguyen’s defeat of incumbent James Lyons Jr. of Andover. Nguyen spent $112,166 through October 19, while Lyons spent $84,483. Lyons predicted his total spending would rise to about $150,000 when expenditures in the final 17 days of the campaign are counted, while Nguyen’s total would hit $200,000 to $250,000. Nguyen disputed those estimates, but $200,000 doesn’t seem far off the mark.
The Nguyen-Lyons race was also interesting because 12 Democratic state lawmakers, including the third most powerful legislator in the House, contributed money to her campaign. It’s not unheard of for one lawmaker to contribute to the opponent of another, but the high number reflects how much liberal Democrats disliked Lyons, the conservative firebrand.
Patricia Haddad of Somerset, the Speaker pro Tempore of the House, donated to Nguyen, as did Democratic Reps. Christine Barber of Somerville, Kay Khan of Newton, Alice Peisch of Wellesley, Denise Provost of Somerville, Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead, Danielle Gregoire of Marlborough, Kate Hogan of Stow, and Kenneth Gordon of Bedford. Susannah Whipps, an independent from Athol, also contributed, as did Sens. Sonia Chang-Diaz of Jamaica Plain and the campaign committees of Sen. William Brownsberger of Belmont and Jamie Eldridge of Acton.Other notable public officials who contributed to Nguyen included Yvonne Spicer, the mayor of Framingham, and state Auditor Suzanne Bump.
(Due to a reporter’s error, a paragraph about House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s PAC, the Committee for a Democratic House, included incorrect information about donations and was removed.)