Outside money pours into state auditor’s race

Super PACs linked to unions, Baker back opposing candidates

OUTSIDE GROUPS are pouring money into the race for state auditor between Democratic Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Republican Anthony Amore, a possible signal that the race may be tightening with just a week to go until Election Day.

A super PAC with ties to Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday reported spending $100,000 on digital ads over two days last week opposing the candidacy of DiZoglio. The $100,000 in attack ads came after $100,000 in digital ad expenditures on behalf of Amore.

The short Facebook attack ads, the first ever run by the Massachusetts Majority super PAC, variously accused DiZoglio of being a “career politician” funded by “special interests” who is “fiscally irresponsible” and once worked “at a church that supported ‘cures’ for LGBTQ people.”

By contrast, the positive ads generally feature Baker saying Amore is the only statewide candidate he is endorsing and describing Amore as “the ONLY independent voice on Beacon Hill and someone Taxpayers can trust.”

Union groups, most of them public sector unions, funneled money to the Commonwealth for All super PAC, which spent close to $600,000 supporting DiZoglio in her primary battle against Chris Dempsey. The super PAC then went largely dormant until Monday, when it reported spending $70,000 last week on digital ads supporting DiZoglio’s candidacy. The money for the ads came from a Teamsters PAC and the International Association of Firefighters.

The pro-DiZoglio ads all have the same theme, portraying DiZoglio as “someone who will fight for us because she’s one of us.”

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money but they are barred from coordinating with any candidate.

The auditor’s race is being closely watched because Baker, who polls show is the most popular politician in Massachusetts, is strongly supporting Amore, who is trailing in the polls by double digits but the one Republican running for statewide office with the best chance of pulling out a victory.

Doug Rubin, a political consultant working for DiZoglio, issued a statement defending his candidate and linking him to former president Donald Trump.

“Diana DiZoglio has a well-earned reputation for being independent and standing up to powerful special interests.  That’s scary for some insiders, so it’s not surprising to see the Massachusetts Majority PAC spend hundreds of thousands of dollars running misleading negative attacks against her,” he said.  “What is surprising is that they would do it in support of Anthony Amore, given his vote in 2020 for Donald Trump and his repeated defense of Trump’s sexual harassment allegations.”

The Massachusetts Majority super PAC also reported spending more than $105,00 on direct mail ads supporting three other Republican candidates — $44,399 for Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who is facing a challenge from Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux; $31,587 for Daniel Higgins, who is running for Cape and Islands district attorney against Robert Galibois; and $29,291 for Timothy Whelan, who is running against Donna Buckley for Barnstable County Sheriff.

Even as it expended more funds, the Massachusetts Majority PAC raised $75,000 — $50,000 from Cargo Ventures LLC, a development firm based in New York City, and $25,000 from Benjamin Butcher, the executive chair of Stag Industrial.