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Massachusetts candidates for governor amassing campaign cash

July 7, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — With the election still more than a year off, Massachusetts candidates for governor — both those already in the race and those still on the fence — have begun stockpiling campaign cash.

But two with the largest reserves are not officially running yet — Republican Lt. Gov. Karen Polito and Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey. Polito’s decision likely hinges on whether Republican Gov. Charlie Baker decides to seek a third term next year.

All told, Baker had more than $524,000 in available cash in his campaign account as of the beginning of July. In June, Baker collected nearly $91,000, which is more than double his next highest month this year and his second highest monthly total since January 2020.

His lieutenant governor’s campaign account dwarves his at a hefty $2.2 million — more than four times as much in cash.

In June, Polito pulled in about $157,000, also more than double her next highest month this year and close to twice as much as Baker collected in the same month. Polito has consistently out-fundraised Baker each month this year.

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Baker on Wednesday again declined to say whether he will seek a third consecutive four-year term, although he signaled a final decision may not be that far off.

“That is something the lieutenant governor and I have been talking about with our families and we’ll certainly make a decision about that soon,” Baker told reporters at an unrelated event in Springfield.

Baker also cautioned against trying to size up a campaign more than a year before voters head to the polls.

“Anyone who thinks they understand the dynamics of a particular political campaign this far out, well their crystal ball is a lot better than mine,” Baker said.

If he decides to run, Baker will face a GOP primary challenge from fellow Republican Geoff Diehl, a former state representative. Diehl announced his candidacy over the weekend.

If Baker opts against seeking a third term, Polito is seen as a likely Republican candidate.

Of the three declared Democratic candidates, Harvard University professor Danielle Allen has been off to a strong fundraising start. In June, she collected more than $102,000 in campaign donations — her highest monthly tally this year — bringing her available cash total to nearly $340.000.

Another candidate, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, collected more than $33,000 during June, her highest total since January of 2020, which was well before she announced her candidacy. Chang-Diaz now has a balance of nearly $233,000 in her campaign account.

Former state Sen. Ben Downing, the first Democrat to announce a run earlier this year, reported raising more than $39,000 in June, bringing his campaign balance to more than $117,000.

Another Democrat seen as a possible candidate for governor — Healey — would start off with a sizeable war chest if she decides to run.

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Healey reported more than $3.1 million in her campaign account as of the end of June.

If she decides to run, Healey would be the latest in a string of attorneys general in Massachusetts in recent decades to seek the state’s top political office. None of those previous campaigns have been successful.

Massachusetts, despite its liberal reputation, has yet to elect a woman governor.

Other statewide officeholders — all Democrats — have reported healthy campaign stashes, if they decide to seek reelection.

Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin reported more than $1.8 million in his campaign account while state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg reported more than $179,000.

State Auditor Suzanne Bump, who had just $53,000 in her account, has already announced that she won’t seek reelection. Two Democratic candidates — transportation advocate Chris Dempsey and Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff — have announced their candidacies for the seat.