Super PAC with ties to Baker starts spending in primary

Biggest support provided to Hayden, O’Connor, and Higgins

A SUPER PAC with ties to Gov. Charlie Baker filed reports on Tuesday and Wednesday reporting more than $160,000 in donations to 15 Democrats and Republicans, including Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden, Republican Sen. Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth, and GOP Cape and Islands DA candidate Daniel Higgins.

Hayden, who Baker appointed to his position when Rachael Rollins moved on to become US attorney, received a total of $92,551 in direct mail advertising support from the Massachusetts Majority PAC. Hayden is facing a challenge from Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo in the Democratic primary.

O’Connor, who is facing a challenge in the Republican primary from Ronald Patuto, received a total of $10,925.

Higgins, who is locked in a primary battle with two other Republicans, received $11,782 from the super PAC. Bristol County DA Thomas Quinn, a Democrat who is facing a challenger in the primary, received $13,459 of support.

Other candidates who received lesser amounts of support included incumbent Democratic Reps. Russell Holmes of Boston, William C. Galvin of Canton, Paul Donato of Medford, John Barrett of North Adams, Joseph McGonagle of Everett, Christopher Markey of Dartmouth, and Bud Williams of Springfield.

Sen. Walter F. Timilty of Milton, a Democrat, received the super PAC’s support, as did Democratic candidates for state rep Rodney Elliott of Lowell and Simon Cataldo of Concord and Republican candidate for rep Andrew Shepherd of Townsend

The Massachusetts Majority PAC has historically had close ties to Baker, but it was unclear what it would do this year with Baker deciding not to seek reelection. The PAC has traditionally supported politically moderate candidates from either party.

The committee reported no activity until Tuesday, when it disclosed that it had raised close to $1 million since January 1 and spent $112,619. The super PAC followed up with another report on Wednesday, disclosing donations of $51,238. All of the money was spent on direct mail or digital advertising.

Super PACs can collect unlimited amounts of money from donors, including corporations, and spend unlimited amounts on candidates, but they are barred from coordinating their expenditures with the candidates themselves.

The biggest donors to the super PAC so far this year were Carl Ferenbach of Boston, a co-founder of Berkshire Partners, and James Mooney III of the Baupost Group, who each donated $100,000.

Charlotte and Herbert Wagner III of Cambridge each donated $40,000 and Ravi Ika of Southborough, the CEO of RxAdvance, donated $35,000.