Massachusetts is political ATM for candidates

  • Hillary Clinton arrives on her campaign plane at Martha's Vineyard Airport in Vineyard Haven, Mass., on Saturday en route to a fundraiser. AP Photo

Associated Press
Published: 8/24/2016 8:38:53 PM

BOSTON — For presidential candidates, Massachusetts is something of a political ATM — a place to stop and hold a quick fundraiser on the way to a true battleground state like neighboring New Hampshire.

An Associated Press review of Federal Election Commission reports filed by candidates for president so far this election cycle does little to undercut that perception.

The reports confirm Massachusetts — as in past election cycles — continues to punch above its weight with presidential candidates having raised more than $22 million from Bay State backers through the end of July.

That puts Massachusetts fifth on the list of top donor states behind far more populous states like California, New York, Texas and Florida. California, with a population of about 39 million, has contributed more than $100 million. Massachusetts has a population of about 6.8 million.

Pennsylvania and Illinois — states with nearly twice the population of Massachusetts — poured less into the coffers of presidential hopefuls.

Despite its liberal reputation, Republicans, as well as Democrats, have found fertile territory in Massachusetts for supporters ready to open their checkbooks.

While Democrats easily raised much larger sums — $18.7 million has been contributed to Democratic presidential candidates by Massachusetts donors — Republicans have also had respectable hauls, raking in at total of nearly $3.5 million.

The top recipient of all that political giving is Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic presidential nominee has scooped up $10.8 million — nearly half of all the donations to presidential candidates from Massachusetts residents.

By contrast, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has collected just $674,122 from Massachusetts supporters.

A closer look at the fundraising reports shows Clinton struck gold in the metropolitan Boston area, where she collected about $3.8 million, and in the wealthy western suburbs, where she pulled in another $3 million.

Trump also did well in the metropolitan Boston area, pulling in $108,000, but his support was spread out a bit more evenly across the eastern portion of the state than Clinton’s, although in much smaller amounts.

Trump’s average donation in Massachusetts was $132 compared to an average donation of $182 for Clinton.

Both major party nominees have held recent fundraisers in the state.

At the end of June, Trump held a private $2,700-a-plate fundraiser at the Langham Hotel in Boston. The fundraiser, which had been postponed after the nightclub shooting in Orlando, also drew a number of protesters.

More recently, Clinton held a series of fundraising events during a swing through Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket last weekend. By Sunday evening she had spoken to more than 2,200 campaign donors.

The events were closed to reporters.

Two other candidates in the presidential contest — Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein — trailed far behind the major party candidates.

Johnson, whose running mate is former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, had collected about $41,000 in the state as of the end of July.

That’s slightly better than Stein, who has collected about $22,000 from her fellow Bay Staters.

While it remains a popular fundraising hub, Massachusetts fares less well when it comes to actual on-the-ground campaigning by candidates during the final stretches of presidential contests.

The reason is simple. Both Democratic and Republican candidates typically decide it’s not worth the time or trouble to stump in one of the most reliably Democratic-leaning states in the country.

The last time Massachusetts voted for a Republican was more than three decades ago, when voters here backed Ronald Reagan.

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