Would-be Kennedy successors raise over $2 million

Politics

The Capitol is seen in Washington, early Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Impeachment hearings for President Donald Trump come at the very time that Capitol Hill usually tends to its mound of unfinished business. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — The candidates vying to succeed Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III won’t lack for cash.

With all six 4th Congressional District hopefuls now having announced their 2019 fundraising hauls, the group has reported more than $2 million raised so far, with many months left to go before the September primary.

“It’s a ton of money this early for a crowded primary, but it’s not surprising given the economics of the district – especially Brookline and Newton,” David Wasserman, U.S. House editor for the Cook Political Report in Washington, told WPRI 12.

“It’s also worth remembering these totals still won’t buy too many weeks of Boston airtime, so these candidates will have a short window to communicate and need to get creative to stand out,” Wasserman added. (The district touches both the Boston and Providence/New Bedford TV markets.)

Brookline resident Alan Khazei, founder of City Year, revealed Thursday morning he raised $796,564 through Dec. 31, leaving his campaign with $633,149 in cash on hand at year’s end. That put him on top financially among the candidates.

“Heading into the new year, I am humbled by the enthusiasm of our grassroots supporters,” Khazei said in a statement. “I’m inspired by the people powered, progressive politics emerging in our district and across our country.”

Second place went to Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss, who said he raised $609,000 during the three months ended Dec. 31, leaving him with $554,000 in cash on hand.

In third place was Becky Grossman, another Newton city councilor and the first candidate to jump into the race after Kennedy’s announcement, who said she raised $406,000 between Sept. 24 and the end of the year, a time frame that stretched slightly longer than the fourth quarter. She finished with about $318,000 in cash on hand.

Behind Grossman was former Brookline City Councilor Jesse Mermell, whose campaign said she raised $351,000 during the quarter and finished with $236,700 in cash on hand.

Dave Cavell, a former assistant attorney general and Obama administration alum, was the last to report. His campaign said Thursday he raised $201,000 during the fourth quarter, but did not immediately say how much was left.

“Having worked for three people who won their races despite not being the top fundraiser, Dave started this campaign knowing he would not raise the most funds and is raising the funds he needs to run a winning race,” Sarah Thomas, Cavell’s deputy campaign manager, said in a statement.

Ihssane Leckey — who entered the race as a progressive challenger when Kennedy was still running for re-election — raised about $33,000 and ended the quarter with $45,000 in cash on hand, her campaign said.

While all six Democratic candidates hail from either Brookline or Newton, the 4th District stretches down through the Attleboros and Taunton into the northern section of Fall River. Kennedy, who is moving on to run for U.S. Senate, has represented the district since it was created in 2012 following the last redistricting process.

No Republicans have jumped into the race so far.

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

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