MA: Pols’ Support Could Steer Pot Vote


Gov. Charlie Baker is a couple of $20 bills short of $4 million in his campaign account. Mayor Martin J. Walsh has set the annual fundraising record by an incumbent mayor – twice. And Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo set his own fundraising record this year, eclipsing the mark set by … Robert A. DeLeo.

Three of the most powerful people in Massachusetts politics are, not surprisingly, three of its best fundraisers.

All three also serve as the public faces of the committee opposing a ballot question legalizing marijuana that, according to campaign filings released last week, has been outraised 7-to-1 by legalization proponents.

The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, in its fight against Question 4, has also been outspent 59-to-1 so far this year by the Yes on 4 crowd, putting roughly $42,000 toward costs compared to Yes on 4’s $2.4 million (including $2 million in television ads).

That pro-legalization group is largely bankrolled by a Washington, D.C.-based political action committee, the New Approach PAC, that pushes such 
efforts across the country. And all told, legalization 
opponents point out, roughly 96 percent of the $2.46 million Yes on 4 raised came from out-of-state groups, a trend that’s likely to continue heading into Election Day.

But the pre-primary haul of the legalization opponents – $363,202 in all, raised over nine months – would qualify as a good couple of weeks for Baker or Walsh’s own campaigns.

Public officials are allowed to give from their own committees to a ballot question, and the group’s filing is already dotted with legislators, both Republican and Democrat. Corporations and others are also allowed to give an unlimited amount to a ballot committee.

But the question is whether Baker, Walsh and DeLeo – the former two not facing their own election this year and the latter now free from formal sessions – will begin to throw their own political and fundraising heft behind an effort they’ve spoke repeatedly about in public.

Jim Conroy, a political aide to Baker who’s also involved with the ballot committee, said the governor’s personal campaign, for one, has not discussed lending his own money. (Conroy did give $100 of his own cash.)

“But,” he said, “I do think you’re going to see a greater fundraising engagement from the governor, mayor and the speaker down the stretch.”

That includes, Conroy said, more involvement with fundraising in general and at specific fundraising events.

Clearly there’s time: Eight weeks still separate the campaigns from the Nov. 8 vote.

Now it becomes a matter of having enough money.

Speaking of which …

Election Day is, in fact, approaching. And nearly every speaker at last week’s annual Greater Boston Labor Council Labor Day breakfast made a point to remind the crowd.

“In 64 days, on Nov. 8, we have to make a statement about who we are as a nation,” Walsh told the crowd last Monday.

“This election coming up, 64 more days … is truly an election about who we are as a people and what kind of county we’re going to build,” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said.

So, after three hours of speeches, applause and reminders about – you guessed it – 64 days, the day’s final speaker took to the podium with a wry smile.

“I think by the time I finish,” Attorney General Maura Healey said, “there will be 63 days until the election.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Pols’ Support Could Steer Pot Vote
Author: Matt Stout
Contact: 617-426-3000
Photo Credit: Mark Garfinkel
Website: Boston Herald