Some Massachusetts State Legislative Candidates Are Spending Big On Facebook Ads

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In the age of social media, Facebook has become a popular tool for candidates to use to promote their campaigns.

Candidates can use the site to build a following organically, or they can pay the site money to boost their cause. The latter has been common in some legislative races in Massachusetts this fall.

New Boston Post used Facebook’s ad library to see how much various campaigns spent on ads from October 14 to October 20 and what their top ad is, if applicable. Here is a look at that for potentially competitive state representative districts — where the margin of victory was fewer than 10 points in 2018 (the actual total in parentheses next to the district) — as well as every contested state senate race.


For Massachusetts House of Representatives 


Second Essex (1.4 percent)

state Representative Leonard Mirra (R-Georgetown) — $162

Christina Eckert (D-Boxford) — $655


13th Essex (2.9 percent)

Sally Kearns (D-Danvers) — $448

Robert May (R-Peabody) — $170

Bill Bates (I-Danvers) — $0

Jason Guida (I-Danvers) — $152

Christopher Keohane (I-Danvers) — $0


Fifth Plymouth (3.5 percent)

state Representative David DeCoste (R-Norwell) — $141

Emmanuel Dockter (D-Hanover) — $2,075

The top ad for Dockter is below; he spent between $200 and $299 boosting it.

Posted by Rockland Democrats Ma on Tuesday, October 13, 2020


Second Barnstable (4.1 percent)

state Representative William Crocker (R-Barnstable) — $970

Crocker’s campaign spent between $200 and $299 boosting this video (original Facebook post unavailable)

Kip Diggs (D-Barnstable) — $0

Michael Mecenas (I-Barnstable) — $0


First Plymouth (4.6 percent)

state Representative Matt Muratore (R-Plymouth) — Exact amount unknown, but under $101

Stephen Michael Palmer (D-Plymouth) — $0


19th Middlesex (4.8 percent)

state Represenative David Allen Robertson (D-Tewksbury) — Exact amount unknown, but under $101

Alec DiFruscia (R-Tewksbury) — $468


12th Plymouth (5.1 percent)

Rep. Kathleen LaNatra (D-Kingston) — $746

Summer Schmaling (R-Halifax) — $139

LaNatra’s campaign spent between $100 and $199 on the ad below:


First Essex (5.4 percent)

Rep. James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury) — $637

Amber Hewett (D-Newburyport) — $334

Kelcourse’s campaign spent between $300 and $399 on this video ad. Here is a screenshot of the post:


And Hewett’s campaign spent between $100 and $199 on this ad:



18th Essex (9.8 percent)

state Representative Tram Nguyen (D-Andover) — Exact amount unavailable, but under $101

Jeff DeFour (R-Tewksbury) — $111




For Massachusetts Senate


Second Hampden & Hampshire (unopposed for Republican Donald Humason Jr. of Westfield)

state Senator John Velis (D-Westfield) — $0

John Cain (R-Southwick) — $0


Norfolk, Bristol, & Middlesex (2.7 percent)

state Senator Rebecca Rausch (D-Needham) — $111

Matthew Kelly (R-Franklin) — $1,705

Kelly’s campaign ran the largest Facebook ad of any candidate mentioned during that time. Kelly’s spent between $1,000 and $1,500 on this video ad (screenshot below).


Norfolk & Plymouth (51.7 percent)

state Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy) — $368

Alexander Mendez (I-Quincy) — The exact amount the Mendez campaign spent is unclear, but it is under $101.

The campaign for Keenan spent between $100 and $199 on the ad featured below.


Plymouth & Barnstable (17.6 percent for Republican Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth)

state Senator Susan Moran (D-Falmouth) — $868

Jay McMahon (R-Bourne) — $230


Plymouth & Norfolk (6.7 percent)

state Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) — $369

Meg Wheeler (D-Cohasset) — $282


Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire & Middlesex (9.8 percent)

state Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) — $0

Steven Hall (R-Sturbridge) — $632

Hall’s campaign’s spent between $100 and $199 on their top ad, featured below:


Worcester & Middlesex (8.6 percent)

state Senator Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg) — $1,241

John Cronin (D-Lunenberg) — $6,500

Tran’s campaign spent between $300 and $399 on this video ad (screenshot below).

And Cronin’s campaign spent between $1,500 and $2,000 on the ad featured below:

The side scroller on the Cronin ad reveals his campaign’s priorities. They include “invest in statewide pre-k”; “bring back vocational training”; and “expand access to mental health service.” Cronin’s campaign outspent every other campaign in the timeframe surveyed.


Worcester & Norfolk (15.9 percent)

state Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) — $0

Christine Cream (D-Milford) — $0