Moulton re-election bid may turn into a free ride

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SALEM, Mass. U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton may get a free ride to re-election in November as no Republican has stepped up to challenge the first-term congressman’s bid for two more years in Washington.

While his North Shore district is often regarded as competitive, the Salem Democrat and Marine Corps veteran may have scared off an opponent by amassing almost $1 million in campaign funds. Despite his freshman status, Moulton is thus far on an equal footing with Neal, the dean of the Bay State congressional delegation: Neither officially face a Republican opponent.

Moulton raised more than $1.4 million in 2015, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. As of Jan 1, he had spent $489,465, leaving him with $935,631 in cash.

Moulton’s cash balance put him in third place when compared to Massachusetts’ eight other members in the House of Representatives, FEC records show. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal from Springfield entered 2016 with the most at a little more than $2.7 million, with U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III of Brookline claiming second with a little more than $2 million.

At the bottom of the campaign fundraising list is U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, who entered 2016 with about $400,000 in cash. Keating was first elected to the House in 2010.

A closer look at Moulton’s filings show that he has benefitted greatly from contributors tied to Goldman Sachs, the giant Wall Street investment bank. According to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, people or organizations tied to the company gave $24,050 to his campaign. Moulton’s next-largest source of funds came from people or groups tied to Harvard University, at $22,600. Moulton is a Harvard graduate, class of 2001.

To no one’s surprise, Moulton officially launched his re-election campaign last week with a post on his  public Facebook page and a kickoff event at a Salem seafood restaurant last week. According to the Cook Political Report in Washington, all nine House members from Massachusetts are likely to be re-elected this year.