The Fattmans highlight the power of campaign cash

 The state’s Republican power couple – Stephanie and Ryan Fattman of Sutton – knows how to win elections.

The trick appears to be to raise a lot of money, spend nearly all of it, and run for office in a district that generally reflects your political values.

 From July through October, Stephanie Fattman spent $156,562 on her reelection campaign for register of probate in Worcester County. She defeated Democrat John Dolan III, a long-time employee of the office who decided to challenge his boss, by a margin of 54-46. Dolan spent $35,230 on his campaign during the same four-month time period.

 Sen. Ryan Fattman spent a whopping $190,891 over the pre-election, July-through-October period defending his seat against Democrat Christine Crean, a retired social worker for the state Department of Children and Families, who spent $17,800. Fattman won his fourth term in the Senate by a 60-40 margin.

 The spending by the Fattmans does not include money a super PAC affiliated with Gov. Charlie Baker spent on behalf of their campaigns — $68,793 for Ryan and $79,138 for Stephanie.

 “This is the first time I have won every town in my district. State senate districts, especially when you’re in the minority, aren’t the easiest to carry every single town and I am very proud of that,” said Ryan Fattman the day after the election at a thank-you standout with his wife.

 The only other state senator who topped $100,000 in spending over the four-month period was Democratic incumbent Becca Rausch of Needham, who spent $104,680. She defeated Republican Matthew Kelly of Franklin, who spent $44,140, by a 60-40 margin.

 Republican incumbent Sen. Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth spent $75,027 to defeat Democrat Meg Wheeler of Cohasset, who spent $27,774.

 Sen. Dean Tran of Fitchburg didn’t follow the maxim of raising a lot of money and spending most of it. Tran spent $82,505 on the race in the four months leading up to the election, and was outspent by his Democrat challenger, political newcomer John Cronin of Lunenburg, who reported spending $97,486.

 What was curious was that Tran ended October with $35,774 sitting in his campaign account. He may have spent some of that money in the first couple days of November (those records aren’t available yet), but it seems strange that he held on to the money for so long, given the tightness of the race.

 Cronin ended up winning the election by the narrow margin of 51-49.




A House-Senate conference committee reported out a police reform bill that establishes a new commission to oversee the training and disciplining of officers and punts the broader issue of qualified immunity to a separate commission.

Katie Theoharides, the secretary of energy and environmental affairs, drops a few bombshells at a virtual panel discussion where she says TCI is full steam ahead, new nuclear power plants may be needed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and natural gas power plants are here to stay for at least the next 10 years.

There has been no marijuana legalization apocalypse, but impaired driving and youth use are ongoing concerns. The second of a two-part series. 

Attorney General Maura Healey regularly joins other attorneys general in filing lawsuits, but she won’t say why she didn’t participate in a complaint against Apple that netted 33 states $113 million.

The Cannabis Control Commission approves new home delivery regulations, but existing marijuana retailers are threatening to sue.

Opinion: Some ferry service must be maintained, says Alice Brown of Boston Harbor Now.




Steven Ubl, the head of PhRMA, and Robert Coughlin of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council decry proposed drug price regulations in Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget proposal. (Boston Globe


You scratch my back… The lavishly paid Methuen police chief handed out a range of favors to the city councilors who signed off on the contract that set him up to earn more than $325,000 last year, which made the top cop in the city of about 50,000 one of the highest paid law enforcement officers in the country. (Boston Globe

City officials balked at an invitation from several Boston city councilors to a public discussion of issues to focus on in upcoming police contract negotiations, citing “collective bargaining strategies” as something confidential and not subject to public debate. (Boston Herald) Some of Mayor Marty Walsh’s ambitious police reform ideas face a potentially long road to implementation. (Boston Globe

More than 3,000 South Shore residents were without power Monday night as storms hit the area. (Patriot Ledger)

Manchester is auctioning off antique street signs as part of its 375th anniversary celebration. (Gloucester Daily Times)


Cambridge-based Moderna asked the FDA to approve emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine. (Boston Globe) State public health and hospital officials are told to prepare to begin distributing a COVID-19 vaccine within weeks. (The Salem News)

New data show Latino youth are catching COVID-19 at far higher rates than their white or black peers, and they are also suffering the most from a lack of consistent schooling. (Telegram & Gazette)

Nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester are planning a picket to protest what they describe as unsafe working conditions, with reduced staffing levels and not enough protective equipment. (MassLive)


A bipartisan group of senators will propose a $908 billion stimulus plan in an effort to break an impasse that has held up further spending to aid the economy. (Washington Post

Rahm Emanuel is reportedly being considered by Joe Biden for the post of transportation secretary. (Associated Press)


Fidelity Investments has grown its workforce by 6 percent in 2020, responding to surging demand for customer service from account holders rattled by the impact of the pandemic on their portfolios. (Boston Globe

A Salem-based tea company that makes astrology-related “Zodiac teas” has sued a New Jersey company for trademark infringement after that company began marketing nearly identical teas. (Gloucester Daily Times)


Four Massachusetts district attorneys, all UMass graduates, are asking the NCAA to reverse its decision to strip the UMass Amherst tennis team of a 2017 championship and 43 victories because of a clerical error made by the school’s athletic department. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Methuen school officials are figuring out how to handle chronically absent students in a world of online and hybrid learning. (Eagle-Tribune)

The New York Times says a consensus is emerging that it’s safer to resume in-person classes with younger children than older students. 

Salem State University students are asking the administration to rescind three-week staff furloughs scheduled for the spring. (Daily Item)


Delta Air Lines, for which Logan Airport is a major hub, is playing a long game in emphasizing coronavirus safety over short-term profits. (Boston Globe)

CSX is buying Pan Am Railways, a regional railroad in New England. (Associated Press) In August, TransitMatters explained why the public should be very interested in who buys Pan Am. (CommonWealth)

Worcester area municipal and transit leaders are brainstorming ways to offer fare-free buses. (Telegram & Gazette)


The state is exploring the feasibility of establishing a 104-mile Mass Central Rail Trail, a biking and walking trail that would cross the state from Boston to Northampton. (MassLive)


Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins told Greater Boston she plans to re-examine the case of Sean Ellis, who was a released in 2015 after spending 22 years behind bars for the murder of Boston Police Detective John Mulligan. The Netflix documentary “Trial 4” explores how Mulligan and his colleagues who were involved in Ellis’ trials were involved with corruption. (GBH)

Two state prison inmates are released on medical parole and die a day later, raising questions about whether the parole was legitimate or just an attempt to hide some COVID-19 deaths. (WBUR)

State grand juries are continuing to meet, with safety protocols and with only the most serious and time-sensitive cases being presented. (MassLive)

A Marblehead man acquitted of murder by reason of insanity sues the Connecticut state hospital because an employee improperly told a TV station that men there were allowed to play violent games. (Associated Press)

The Supreme Judicial Court upheld the conviction of Quoizel Wilson — who was found guilty of killing Trudie Hall by a Barnstable County jury in 2015 — deciding that the usage of cellphone location data as evidence was valid. (Cape Cod Times) 


Shrewsbury reporter Elaine Thompson, the only female African-American reporter in the Telegram & Gazette newsroom during her 28 years at the paper, joins several of her colleagues in taking a buyout. (Telegram & Gazette)

The nonprofit Report for America initiative is helping to fill gaps in local coverage by funding reporters to join newspapers that have been decimated by the collapse of the print journalism business model. (Boston Globe)