Auchincloss leads the pack in 4th District fundraising

SE Mass

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — Democrat Jake Auchincloss has emerged as the financial leader in the race to replace Congressman Joe Kennedy III.

In response to a survey by WPRI 12, eight of the 10 Democrats seeking the 4th Congressional District seat disclosed how much money they raised and how much they have on hand ahead of next week’s quarter reporting deadline. All are seeking to replace Kennedy, a candidate for U.S. Senate, as the representative for a district which winds through Attleboro and Taunton into northern Fall River.

Auchincloss, a Newton city councilor, had $947,000 on hand for the primary election as of March 31, according to his campaign. He raised over $474,000 during the first quarter. The survey found Auchincloss is also the only candidate who has already gathered enough signatures to make the ballot, a potential problem for some of the campaigns due to COVID-19 social distancing.

“In these challenging times, we’re grateful to our volunteers and everyone working to keep people safe and healthy throughout the 4th District,” said Yael Sheinfeld, communications director for the Auchincloss campaign.

In second place was the 4th District’s previous financial leader, City Year founder Alan Khazei, whose campaign said he had $783,000 on hand as of March 31 after raising $278,000 during the first quarter.

Becky Grossman, another member of the Newton City Council, ranked third with over $400,000 on hand as of March 31, according to her campaign. She raised $230,000 in the first quarter.

After Grossman was Jesse Mermell, a former member of the Brookline Select Board, whose campaign said she had over $342,000 on hand as of March 31. She raised more than $204,000 during the first quarter, a spokesperson said, emphasizing that the majority of her contributions came from Massachusetts and nearly all were earmarked for the primary election.

Next on the list was a newcomer, tech entrepreneur Chris Zannetos of Wellesley, who entered the race just last week — months after most of the other candidates. Zannetos had nearly $300,000 on hand, according to a campaign spokesperson, who said he “has just started its fundraising efforts.”

In sixth place was Dave Cavell, a former assistant attorney general, who had $184,000 on hand as of March 31, according to campaign manager Sarah Thomas. He raised $100,000 during the first quarter.

Behind Cavell was the first candidate to enter the race — Ihssane Leckey, a former Federal Reserve official who planned to challenge Kennedy from the left when he was still expected to seek re-election. She had about $54,000 on hand after raising $44,000 in the first quarter, according to a spokesperson.

The eighth candidate to report, Herb Robinson, said he had exactly $210 in his campaign account.

“I am proud of the fact that I raised $210 and am running my campaign without the influence of money from large donors,” Robinson said in an email, adding, “I am doing this to give voters are real choice this election, not to have a career on politics.”

Two other candidates — Ben Sigel and Tom Shack — did not disclose their fundraising numbers. No Republicans or independents have announced their candidacies so far.

The primary is Sept. 1.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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