Magaziner sitting on roughly twice as much campaign cash as McKee, Gorbea

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — General Treasurer Seth Magaziner easily retained his status as the financial leader in the Democratic primary for Rhode Island governor during the summer, according to newly filed R.I. Board of Elections reports.

Magaziner had almost $1.6 million in his campaign account as of Sept. 30, his report showed. Gov. Dan McKee placed second with $800,000, followed by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea with $749,000.

Looked at another way, the three Democrats all kept pace with one another. After paying expenses, each candidate stockpiled roughly $80,000 in fresh cash during the quarter — resulting in little change in the overall picture.

While Magaziner led the field in fundraising — taking in $255,000 over the three-month period — he also spent far more than others, shelling out $175,000. The treasurer’s biggest expenses were $52,000 to The Mellman Group, his polling firm; $16,000 to GPS Impact, a consulting firm; and $15,000 to a firm founded by political consultant Hayley Rumback.

McKee and Gorbea put up strikingly similar fundraising numbers: both Democrats raised about $154,000 in new contributions during the quarter. (The governor edged the secretary of state by less than $50.)

McKee — who took office in March when Gina Raimondo left to join President Biden’s cabinet — spent about $70,000 from July through September. His biggest expense was $32,000 to LB Strategies, a fundraising firm owned by Laurie Bosio that also worked for Marty Walsh when he was Boston mayor.

Gorbea, who is in her second term as secretary of state, spent about $73,000. Her biggest expense other than payroll was $18,500 to BluePrint Interactive, a digital consulting firm.

A fourth candidate, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, had $59,000 on hand as of Sept. 30 after raising $77,000 and spending $18,000.

However, Brown’s campaign reported also owing $45,000 in unpaid expenses — listed as accounts payable — as of Sept. 30, the most of any candidate. Gorbea’s campaign similarly reported $38,000 spent but unpaid. (Magaziner and McKee reported no unpaid expenses.)

In a news release, Brown’s campaign touted a bigger fundraising total than his own — $154,000 — by combining his donations with those that went to state Sen. Cynthia Mendes, who is running for lieutenant governor as a joint ticket with Brown.

“Unlike Governor McKee, former corporate executive Helena Foulkes, Secretary of State Gorbea, and Treasurer Magaziner, they are not taking any corporate PAC, corporate lobbyist, or fossil fuel money,” the Brown and Mendes campaigns said in a news release.

Foulkes, a former CVS Health executive, didn’t enter the Democratic primary until October and isn’t required to file her first finance report with the Board of Elections until January. But she has the potential to be financially formidable thanks to the Rolodex she accumulated during her corporate career, as well as her own personal wealth.

A sixth Democrat, Luis Daniel Muñoz, had less than $6,000 on hand as of Sept. 30.

No Republican has formally entered the race for governor so far, though House Minority Leader Blake Filippi and former R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority Chairman David Darlington are both considering a bid for the GOP nomination.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

This story has been updated and expanded.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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