Baker-affiliated super PAC has gone silent
Super PACs have pumped more than $4 million into the race for mayor of Boston, but one has been noticeably absent from the political fray.
The Massachusetts Majority PAC, which has close ties to Gov. Charlie Baker, so far has taken a pass on the Boston mayor’s race as well as all the other local races around the state. In fact, it’s reported no expenditures or receipts at all since October 2020.
Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money, including from corporations, and can use their funds to support or oppose candidates. Super PACs, however, cannot coordinate their activities with the campaigns they are supporting.
James Davis, a Republican and the chairman of the New Balance athletic shoe company, has attracted lots of attention for pumping $495,000 into a super PAC backing Annissa Essaibi George in the Boston race for mayor. Essaibi George, viewed as the most moderate candidate in the mayor’s race, came in second in Tuesday’s preliminary election and now faces Michelle Wu in the final.
Massachusetts Majority was a way for Baker to support like-minded politicians at a time when he was at odds with his own state party, which had elected Trump supporter Jim Lyons as its chair.
In 2019, the Massachusetts Majority PAC raised $920,201, and spent $267,419 on a series of local races for city council and mayor across the state. The biggest beneficiary was Donna Colorio, whose campaign benefited from $38,000 in direct mail advertising in what turned out to be a successful run for Worcester City Council. The PAC spent $21,312 supporting Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo’s successful reelection bid.
In 2020, the PAC raised $1,068,500 and spent $1,339,447 on a wide variety of races, mostly for the Legislature but also the Governor’s Council and register of probate in Worcester County.
But this year, a time when Baker is trying to decide whether to seek a third term as governor, the PAC has gone silent, reporting no receipts and expenditures. Officials with the PAC could not immediately be reached for comment.
The great yawn: It was a history-making preliminary election for mayor, with five major contenders — all of them people of color and four of them women in a city with a sordid past on race that has only elected white men as mayor. The race drew national media attention, but here in the neighborhoods of the city it was met with a big yawn. Only 108,000 voters cast ballots, 5,000 fewer than in 2013 during the last incumbent-free race, even though the city’s population has increased by 40,000 over that time period.
— Erin O’Brien, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, offered what she called a “counterintuitive” hypothesis — that some voters sat out Tuesday’s election because they liked several candidates and had a hard time choosing one. Read more.
Price caps: The Health Policy Commission says it needs more tools to deal with rising hospital costs. Its top recommendations are price caps on the most expensive hospital systems and more penalties on needlessly expensive providers. Read more.
MBTA warning: A Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report warns that the MBTA will face a “fiscal calamity” in a few years as federal funds dry up and ridership struggles to recover. The report comes at a time when many politicians and advocates are calling for making the T fare free. Read more.
All systems go: Vineyard Wind completes a $2.3 billion bank financing and gears up to start construction. Read more.
Verdict affirmed: The Supreme Judicial Court upholds a $21 million verdict against Phillip Morris brought by a Lynn man who died from smoking. The ruling may pave the way for more wrongful death suits by individuals. Read more.
Nangle sentenced: Former state rep David Nangle of Lowell is sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $33,347 to the IRA and forfeit $15,650. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
Enrique Zuniga, a member of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission since its founding, is named executive director of the state’s new police oversight commission. (Boston Globe) Rep. Brad Hill of Ipswich leaves Beacon Hill to fill a vacancy at the Gaming Commission. (Gloucester Times)
A state audit finds that the agency that licenses professionals and tradespeople may have failed to conduct criminal record and sex offender checks for years. (Boston Globe)
The president of the Greater Boston Food Bank says she has spent close to $1 million so far on security as homeless people with problems crowd the streets around the facility. It’s money that could be going to feed people, she says. (Boston Herald)
Brookline settles for $11 million with a Black firefighter who alleged he faced a racist work environment. (WBUR)
The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank acquires 32 acres from the family of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg at a price of $10 million. (MassLive)
Democrats target cigarettes and vaping as sources of revenue for $3.5 trillion economic package. (Washington Post)
ELECTIONSA crush of mail-in ballots caught election officials in Boston off guard Tuesday, leading to frustration as politicians and voters had to wait until the next day for final results. (Boston Globe)
A slew of newcomers are competing for open slots on the Boston City Council in the wake of Tuesday’s preliminary election. (GBH)