Super PAC with ties to Baker backs 11 winners

O’Connell cruises in Taunton; 4 candidates lost

An earlier version of this story incorrectly provided results on a Worcester City Council race and mischaracterized a candidate in Melrose, so that information and totals have been updated.

A RELATIVELY NEW super PAC with close ties to Gov. Charlie Baker spent $267,429 supporting 15 candidates in mayoral and city council races on Tuesday and 11 of those candidates came away with victories.

The Massachusetts Majority super PAC, which is allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from supporters, including corporations, was set up earlier this year by a developer with close ties to the governor. While the PAC has no formal ties to Baker, its supporters say it was set up to support candidates and causes he favors from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

The PAC was created after a fundraising operation coordinated with the Massachusetts Republican Party was dissolved; the state party is now headed by a strong supporter of President Trump, who Baker does not support.

Nearly all of the PAC’s money went for direct mail efforts run by a Pennsylvania company.

Four candidates backed by the PAC won in very close races. The PAC invested $24,501 in the race of Janet Leombruno, who won a city council seat in Framingham by 42 votes. State Sen. Donald Humason saw $19,893 from the PAC go for direct mail in his race for mayor of Westfield, which Humason won by less than 100 votes. And Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, who received $21,312 in support from the PAC, defeated long-time rival Daniel Rizzo by less than 600 votes. Donna Colorio, who received $38,130 in support from the PAC, made a late surge to win a seat on the Worcester City Council.

The Massachusetts Majority PAC’s candidates lost in four races. Incumbent Amesbury Mayor C. Kenneth Gray (on whom the PAC spent $12,336) lost by 157 votes to Kassandra Megan Gove. Heather Porreca ($20,430) lost in the mayor’s race in Attleboro, Monica Medeiros ($15,696) lost in her race for mayor in Melrose against Rep. Paul Brodeur, and  Jennifer Nassour ($13,917) lost a city council race in Boston.

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.

Other winning mayoral candidates who received support from the PAC included Stephen DiNatale in Fitchburg ($5,336), Mark Hawke in Gardner ($11,070), Arthur Vigeant in Marlborough ($14,601), Dominic Sarno in Springfield ($13,835), Robert Hedlund Jr. in Weymouth ($27,285), and Scott Galvin in Woburn ($6,137).

Rep. Shaunna O’Connell of Taunton cruised to victory in the mayor’s race in Taunton with enormous help from Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Polito orchestrated the move of Mayor Thomas Hoye Jr. into the register of probate job in Bristol County in a way that gave O’Connell maximum political advantage and put opponents at a disadvantage. Baker and Polito both campaigned for O’Connell and the Massachusetts Majority PAC spent a total of $22,950 on direct mail in her campaign, which was more than her rival, Estele Borges, raised during her run for the office.