MAGov '14: Where is the money coming from?

Yesterday, we looked at the data behind the now-common political boast that a candidate's campaign is being funded by small, grassroots donations. (Spoiler alert: It ain't necessarily so.) Today, we look at another campaign stand-by, touting the amount of fundraising coming from within Massachusetts versus elsewhere. In this case, there is more of a basis for bragging, given very real differences between the candidates in terms of their ability to raise money from voters who could actually vote for them in November.

Looking at the fundraising totals from 2013 for the gubernatorial candidates, six of the eight are drawing more of their total amount from within the Commonwealth than without (Figure 1). That group includes Republican Charlie Baker, the two more established Democratic candidates Martha Coakley and Steve Grossman, Democrat Joseph Avellone, and independent candidates Evan Falchuk and Jeffrey McCormick.


Two candidates, Don Berwick and Juliette Kayyem, are drawing more donations from out-of-state than from Massachusetts. The bulk of Kayyem's out-of-state support is coming from New York, California and the beltway (Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia), while Berwick’s support is spread more evenly across several states. In this respect, the fundraising mirrors the story of the race so far:  Grossman and Coakley are vying for the hearts and minds of core Democratic activists in Massachusetts, while Berwick and Kayyem hope to convert their national reputations on health care policy and national security, respectively, into followings in the Commonwealth.


Charlie Baker, in the meantime, benefits from being the only Republican in the race, and is raking in large sums from Massachusetts voters. Given that he only entered the race and started collecting donations in September, his annual total is particularly noteworthy. The Democratic in June convention will narrow the field, but for the next several months, Democratic donors will have more choices of where to send their money, potentially allowing Baker to build a lead in total fundraising.

As we noted yesterday, self-funding plays a significant role in the campaigns of several of the candidates, and we are treating that as a separate category in these calculations. Several candidates, particularly the two independent candidates, are so far more or less relying on self-funding to get their campaigns off the ground. Whether they will be able to build a donor base without the party infrastructure available to their competitors remains to be seen.