Going behind the vote totals in legislative races

A correction was added 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 and prolife 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.)



Be nice: Gov. Charlie Baker has proclaimed November 17 the third annual Civility Day. (The Enterprise) He also signed a civics education bill into law. (MassLive)


In a 2017 interview with the Herald News in which he acknowledged he was under investigation by the  FBI, Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia said he took $60,000 from his company through credit card purchases but later changed his tax returns because he realized he had to claim it as personal income. (Herald News)

A push to call the Fields Corner section of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood Little Saigon is stirring opposition. (Dorchester Reporter)

Southborough selectmen are looking to revive a decade-old proposal to create a Town Manager form of government because the part-time five-member board is getting overwhelmed with day-to-day operations. (MetroWest Daily News)


President Trump has declared new powers to bar immigrants seeking asylum by invoking an emergency statute designed to protect the country from outside threats. (New York Times)

Sen Elizabeth Warren, who last year called on Jeff Sessions to resign as attorney general, is now sounding alarms over his exit and its implications for the special prosecutor investigation. (Boston Herald)

Rep. Seth Moulton is dialing up efforts to replace Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic leader now that the party is poised to regain the speaker’s post. (Boston Globe)

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders distributed a doctored video produced by a right-wing conspiracy website to justify pulling press credentials from a CNN reporter who had a testy exchange with Trump.


Howie Carr offers a tribute to defeated Andover state rep Jim Lyons. (Boston Herald)

Joe Battenfeld says the Democratic presidential sweepstakes in 2020 could include Bay State showdown between Elizabeth Warren and Deval Patrick. (Boston Herald)

Both the US Senate and governors races in Florida appear headed toward mandatory recounts with Republicans clinging to narrow leads in both contests. (Washington Post)

Nestor Ramos laments how inured we’ve become to mass shootings following the latest carnage in Thousand Oaks, California, but sees a glimmer of hope in candidates elected to office on Tuesday with a strong commitment to gun control, including several who were once backed the NRA. (Boston Globe)


Renee Loth says it may be just as well that Boston won’t be flooded by thousands of Amazon “brogrammers,” but she says we should take heed of the housing and transportation issues facing the region that may have factored into that decision.

The Federal Reserve indicated another rise in interest rates could be coming at its next meeting in December. (Wall Street Journal)


The infighting between Lowell Schools Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui and the school committee continues, with a lawsuit expected once Khelfaoui’s ouster is done. (Lowell Sun)

Seniors at Bridgewater-Raynham High School are angry that the administration canceled the traditional annual t-shirts for the class because of a racy phrase on the back, saying previous graduating classes had shirts with sexually inappropriate slogans that no one said anything about. (The Enterprise)


A pharmacy technician at Beverly Hospital apparently stole as many as 18,000 pills. (Salem News)

The Trump administration is moving ahead with a plan to allow employers to deny insurance coverage for birth control on religious or moral grounds. (Washington Post)


Eversource takes a $32.9 million write-off on its stake in the Northeast Access pipeline in the wake of the Merrimack Valley gas explosions. (Boston Globe)

A federal judge in Montana has blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying the Trump administration “discarded prior factual findings related to climate change” in pushing forward with the planned 1,200-mile project. (Wall Street Journal)


Steve Wynn sued Wynn Resorts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, seeking to block the release of a report on his alleged sexual misconduct because the document may contain information protected by attorney-client privilege. (CommonWealth)

Big Marijuanais a thing, just not the thing critics said. (CommonWealth)

A retail marijuana store in Northampton may be the first to open in the state. (Associated Press)


In an argument before the Supreme Judicial Court to reinstate former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction, Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn urged the justices to abandon the legal principle that a convicted felon is innocent if he dies awaiting appeal. (Associated Press)

Whitey Bulger, who knew a thing or two about stashing bodies in graves, now has one of his own as the convicted killer who terrorized the city for decades is buried following a funeral mass in South Boston attended by about 30 people. (Boston Globe)