The first superPAC takes part in the mayor’s race with advertisements
But the PAC intends to back Campbell and has already raised $ 660,000 to influence the race on their behalf, said a person connected to the committee. The group, whose main donors include a number of funders from charter schools, plans to raise $ 2 million.
Meanwhile, a super PAC called the Boston Turnout Project was established “to get Boston voters to support candidates and causes that promote progressive values and hold candidates accountable for not.” This committee, which was reorganized last month, is believed to support Michelle Wu. Its chairman is Jason Burrell, who served as the regional field director for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, while Wu was the campaign’s national constituency leader. Burrell did not respond to requests for comment.
Maurice Cunningham, co-founder of the MassPolitics Profs political blog and studies of “dark money” fed into campaigns, said he expected far more outside influence this year with half a dozen key candidates for mayor.
“I would be surprised if all six didn’t have a super PAC at some point,” says Cunningham, who recently retired from teaching political science at the University of Massachusetts.
Independent spending action committees cannot coordinate advertising or messages with the candidate’s campaign. But they can make a powerful impact by complementing a candidate’s advertising with their own – or even doing the dirty work of negative advertising for them.
Better Boston digital ads focus on Campbell’s advocacy as a councilor for change and transparency with the Boston Police Department.
Sonia Alleyne, a Dorchester mother and chairwoman of Better Boston, said in a statement that Campbell has been a “steadfast advocate of accountable and transparent Boston police force,” leading the push for body cameras, an effective civil review body, and other progressive criminal justice reforms .
“Andrea’s commitment to a safe, fair Boston comes from a deeply personal place, and so she continues to demand accountability and transparency no matter what personal attacks the police union carries out against her,” Alleyne said.
Under state law, a committee must file campaign funding reports within seven days of spending more than $ 250, including the name, occupation, and employer of each contributor greater than $ 200. They must report every 24 hours in the last 10 days of the election.
That was not the case in 2013, during the final open race for Boston Mayor, the most expensive municipal race in Massachusetts history, according to the State Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Winner, Martin J. Walsh, and rival Alderman John R. Connolly spent a total of $ 6 million from their own campaign accounts, and outside groups spent an additional $ 3.8 million, including an anonymous ad purchase of nearly 500,000 US dollars for Walsh in the final days of the races.
At that time, external groups did not have to name their donors until January after the election. Months later, it was revealed that Walsh’s last-minute money came from the Boston Teachers Union, run through a campaign fund in New Jersey, while Connolly was supported by educational reform support groups that did not have to name their donors.
The Campaign Funding Act now also requires independent spending committees to list their largest donors in their advertisements – meaning Better Boston’s top five contributors are visible in the Globe’s digital advertisements.
While the ads focus on police reform, the leading contributors share another common interest: education reform.
The top donors include:
* Nonnie Burns, a former state insurance commissioner who is developing a venture capital fund to invest in Black and Latinx companies, and whose husband is a proponent of educational reform in Boston schools.
* Reed Hastings, the Boston-born co-founder and CEO of Netflix and a charter school advocate, who contributed $ 12,000 in 2009 to expanding Massachusetts charter schools in 2009.
* Stephanie Spector, a multiple charter school supporter with her husband Brian, an investor who contributed $ 40,000 to a 2016 election campaign to expand charter schools in Massachusetts.
These include two supporters who, like Campbell, are alumni of Princeton University:
* Andrew Balson, manager of private equity firm Cove Hill Partners, who donated $ 500,000 in 2016 to two committees advocating the charter voting issue.
* Stig Leschly, professor at Harvard Business School, former CEO of Match Education, which has a charter school in town.
All but Hastings live in Massachusetts and have exhausted their individual campaign donations of $ 1,000 to Campbell both this year and last year.
The 2016 election question to expand charter schools was rejected, but education reform has proven to be a hot topic, animating unions and public school defenders. Experts like Cunningham therefore expect a similarly painful debate on education this year as in 2013.
“This is a battle of well-funded school privatizers that will undoubtedly bring in the unions,” he said in an email. “The Ed Wars are about to resume.”
Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at Stephanie.Ebbert@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieEbbert.