Baker leads pack raising cash locally

By Matt Carroll
Globe Staff / September 12, 2010

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With the general election less than two months away, the three major candidates for governor are pushing for every vote — and dollar. South of Boston, the voters in Hingham, Milton, and Quincy are quickest when it comes to opening their wallets and check books.

Those three communities are among the top five in the area in money raised for each of the candidates. Their common denominator, say some political leaders, is focused voters with a deep interest in politics.

The results translate into plenty of cash for Governor Deval Patrick and his two opponents in November, Charles Baker and Tim Cahill. The three communities contributed a total of more than $350,000 to the candidates between January and the first week of this month.

Two of the candidates have strong hometown support south of Boston, reflected in their successful fund-raising here. Democrat Patrick lives in Milton, where supporters contributed more than $48,000, his best showing in the region. And state Treasurer Cahill, running as an independent, lives in Quincy, where supporters piled up more than $90,000 for his cause.

Republican businessman Baker’s top town in the area was Hingham, where he raised more than $60,000.

Baker, who lives in Swampscott and grew up in Needham, has raised the most in this area, about $535,000. Cahill has taken in nearly $290,000, while Patrick has received about $275,000. A fourth candidate, Jill Stein of the Green-Rainbow Party, has raised a total of about $106,000 statewide in the same period.

The candidates are in no danger in Tuesday’s primary, with berths already intact on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

Residents say they understand why their communities have come through for candidates.

“You hear a lot about people not caring or who are apathetic’’ about politics, said environmental consultant E. Shawn Worster, who is treasurer of the Democratic Town Committee in Hingham. “So it’s good when people speak with their wallet. In Hingham’s case, there seems to be some fairly large wallets.’’

Lawyer Michael Traft, chairman of the Hingham Democratic committee, said residents have always been politically active “right from the days of the Revolution.’’ In some ways, the town is a bellwether, he said. Voters supported Patrick in his first election, Barack Obama for president, and Scott Brown for US senator.

Elizabeth White, the treasurer for the Milton Democratic Town Committee, said Patrick’s local ties have helped him. “He’s been a resident here for a long time,’’ she said. “Lots of people feel strongly for him.’’

Quincy activists tried to explain what made their city such a political powerhouse.

“Quincy is a very politically focused town,’’ said Jennifer McCauley Logue, chairwoman of Republican City Committee and a former City Council candidate.

Charles J. Phelan Jr., a former president of the city’s Democratic committee and the city’s chief information officer, said Cahill is a hometown favorite.

“Timmy is a guy who is looked at as a Quincy candidate,’’ he said. As a longtime member of the City Council, Cahill couldn’t “help but make a lot of friendships, and Tim was very popular.’’

Representatives for the candidates were quick to thank voters for their help.

“We’ve seen this type of energy throughout the Commonwealth,’’ said Rick Gorka, a spokesman for Baker, noting the contributions from Hingham, Milton, and Quincy.

Pointing to the money raised in Quincy, Juli Sweeney, Cahill’s press secretary, said, “We have a core base of voters in the city who support the treasurer and believe he is the right candidate to give a voice to the Massachusetts middle class.’’

Alex Goldstein, a Patrick spokesman, said the “administration has invested millions of dollars to improve the region’s infrastructure, create jobs through targeted investments, and lift up teachers and schools on the South Shore. He is grateful for the support of these communities.’’

Matt Carroll can be reached at and followed on Twitter@ GlobeMattC.

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