The Money Behind the Bridgewater, Raynham State Rep Race
October 12, 2012
by Amy Carboneau
If money talks, state rep. Angelo D'Emilia could be singing his way to a second term with what he has in his political piggy bank.
Political science expert Peter Ubertaccio, who chairs the department at Stonehill College, said "without a doubt" a financial edge can give the candidate a leg up, particularly in the final weeks of a campaign.
D'Emilia has a commanding $30,000 lead over Democratic challenger Marilee Kenney Hunt in the 8th Plymouth District race, according to pre-primary campaign finance reports filed by each candidate.
"Incumbents typically have an easier way raising money," he said. "But what (D'Emilia's) got is a challenger who has very little to spend over the next few weeks, and that will impact her campaign."
Hunt had $1,697 leftover as of Aug. 29, compared with D'Emilia's $31,402.
"This is the advantage an incumbent has, and you know that going in," Hunt said Wednesday. "The first time out, you have to buy all your signs, you don't have the name recognition, and you have to raise the money from the ground up."
The pre-primary report is available on the Office of Campaign and Political Finance website at www.mass.gov/ocpf.
The report shows that Hunt and her husband both wrote $500 checks to her campaign, and are two of the top donors, and that D'Emilia, who runs a contracting business in Bridgewater, hadn't donated to his own.
D'Emilia's largest donor so far is the state Republican Committee, which gave $1,000, the largest donation a party action committee is allowed.
Other notable donors to D'Emilia's re-election campaign include the Catholic Citizenship Party Action Committee (PAC), the Republican Municipal Coalition PAC and the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts People's Committee.
D'Emilia, a freshman representative, won the seat in 2010 after it had been held by a democrat since at least 1965. He did not return requests for comment in time for deadline.
While the Republican incumbent has more money on hand, reports show that Hunt, who is self-employed as a consultant, has spent nearly three times what he has.
Hunt received $18,720 in donations this calendar year, less than $2,000 shy of what the incumbent brought in. But she has spent $17,022 of it, versus D'Emilia, who has spent just $6,790.
"So during these last four weeks," says Ubertaccio, ", the challenger there faces the difficult prospect at having to campaign and fund raise at the same time; whereas the incumbent doesn't have to." The majority of Hunt's money so far has gone toward getting her name out, she says, towards signs, pamphlets and online advertising.
A self-proclaimed "cheapskate," who says she hates asking people for money, said that has been a big hurdle for her in running.
"I get nauseous looking at the amount of money spent on campaigns; it's not in my blood to spend money that way," she said.
Her campaign team stepped in when she first told them she was going to offer her information online, and not in fliers.
"And they all just looked at me and said, ‘or do you want to win.'"
Notable donors to Hunt's campaign include the Massachusetts Democratic Party, the Boston Teachers Union, the National Association of Social Workers and four local Carpenters unions.
Candidates are expected to file a pre-election report on Oct. 29, which will report what each candidate brought in between Aug. 20 and Oct. 19.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.