Massachusetts governor race another sign of Democratic weakness
While much attention has been focused on the Massachusetts Senatorial contest to take over the seat held by the late Ted Kennedy (where the Republican candidate in this bluest of blue states may only be trailing the lackluster Democratic candidate by single digits) further drama for Democrats is happening in the governor's race.
In one of the most aggressive political fund-raising pushes in recent memory, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charles D. Baker has amassed a $1.85 million war chest over roughly five months of campaigning, tapping into a broad range of supporters and establishing himself as a major threat to Governor Deval Patrick's reelection bid.Baker doubled, in less than half the time, what Patrick raised for the entirety of 2009, despite a fund-raising visit by President Obama this past fall for the Democratic governor. Baker's coffers currently hold more than 10 times the amount in Patrick's campaign account.Baker's fund-raising haul, which has broken records for a nonincumbent candidate who is not yet a party nominee, provides another jolt for Democrats already discouraged over Patrick's underwhelming poll numbers and comparatively slow pace of fund-raising.Last month, typically the toughest of the year to collect political donations, Baker reported raising a whopping $726,000, ending the year with a donor base of 7,449 people. Raising money every year is key for candidates in Massachusetts, because the annual contribution limit for individuals is $500.The fund-raising success has allowed the campaign to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars already to position itself for this election year.Baker's feat exceeds the expectations his aides had when the former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care decided to jump into the 2010 governor's race.Baker also helped raise about $500,000 for the state Republican Party, which has $271,000 in its state account.