Republicans Winning Massachusetts Senate Fund-Raising Battle … In Districts Where They’re Running Candidates

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Democrats dominate the Massachusetts Senate, and that supermajority won’t change regardless of the outcomes of this November’s general election.

Still, a marginal gain or loss is possible either major party. At stake is the Democrats’ current nine-to-one majority. Democrats currently have 36 of the 40 seats in the Massachusetts Senate, while Republicans have the other four. 

All 40 Massachusetts Senate seats are up for election. Republicans have candidates in eight of them this year, whereas Democrats have a candidate in all but one of them; the Democrats don’t typically run candidates against Senate minority leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

That means there are seven state Senate races with a Democrat running against a Republican.

Here is a look at where the fund-raising efforts in those races was at as earlier this past week. The totals are based on their total amount raised from January 1, 2019 to midday Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

The categories are broken down into Lopsided, Tilts To One Side, and Fairly Even.



Among the seven contested races, Republicans are vastly out-raising Democrats in two of them, while Democrats have a decided edge in another.

The most lopsided of the bunch is the Second Hampden & Hampshire District. State Senator John Velis (D-Westfield) has vastly out-raised Republican John Cain of Southwick. Velis defeated Cain in a special election earlier this year 64.2 percent to 35.8 percent. That special election happened because the former senator, Republican Donald Humason, won a mayoral election in Westfield and subsequently resigned from the Senate. In this election cycle, Velis has raised $141,631.43 to Cain’s $25,856.61. Since losing the special election in May by nearly 30 points, Cain has only received a few donations.

After the Cain-Velis race, state Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) has the biggest fund-raising advantage over an opponent. O’Connor has raised $144,771 in this election whereas Cohasset Democrat Meg Wheeler has raised $40,984.57. O’Connor is in a competitive district, however. The liberal Republican won his last race with 50.6 percent of the vote to his opponent’s 43.9 percent.

State Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton), who represents the Worcester & Norfolk District, has also out-raised his opponent. He has raised $46,886.29 while Democrat Christine Crean has raised $17,306. Additionally, Fattman, who has the most conservative voting record in the Massachusetts Senate, had $192,332.46 cash on hand at the end of September. Fattman won his race in 2018 with 57.9 percent of the vote.

State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), the minority leader, has raised $83,925.59 in this election cycle, despite running unopposed in a left-leaning district.


Tilts To One Side

There is one contested race where the challenger has out-raised the incumbent. That is in the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire, & Middlesex District. Republican Steven Hall of Franklin has raised $31,148.99 while state Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) has raised $20,928. She had $21,741.87 cash on hand as of the end of September.

This race is a rematch of the 2018 race in the district. Gobi won that one 53.5 percent to 44 percent. That time around, Gobi greatly out-raised her opponent. (Hall raised $25,012.63 in that election cycle while Gobi raised $60,630, according to those same state Office of Campaign and Political Finance records.)


Fairly Even

There are also two contested races where the challengers and incumbents have raised similar amounts of money. One of those races is in the Worcester & Middlesex District, where incumbent state Senator Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg) has raised $108,838.21 and his opponent, Democrat John Cronin, has raised $105,931.01. Tran won his 2018 race 54.3 percent to 45.7 percent — a midterm election — but has been hit with an ethics violation since then.

Another race where the fund raising is close is in the Plymouth & Barnstable District. Incumbent state Senator Susan Moran (D-Falmouth), who beat Republican Jay McMahon in the May 2020 special election, also holds a slight edge in fund raising in the general election race. She has raised $180,680.26 while McMahon has raised $168,072.52.

Moran beat McMahon 56.2 percent to 43.7 percent back in May. Republican Vinny deMacedo previously held the seat before taking a job at Bridgewater State University.