Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley raised more than $256,000 in May for his bid for mayor of Boston, increasing his sizable financial advantage as the first open race for City Hall in three decades gains momentum.
State Representative Martin J. Walsh finished a close second for the month, raising almost $253,000 as candidates frantically raised money to propel their campaigns into the summer. Walsh ended the month with more than $364,000 in the bank, a balance that placed him in the upper tier of candidates.
But Conley remained the financial powerhouse. He said he ended the month with $1.1 million in his campaign coffers, a balance twice that of any other candidate in the crowded mayoral field.
With the potential for 15 people on the ballot, money will be critical as candidates try to distinguish themselves over the summer while the electorate’s attention shifts to beaches and baseball. At this early stage of the race, monthly fund-raising totals can act like a scorecard, offering a sense of which campaigns are taking flight and which might be falling behind.
With his quarter-million-dollar haul in May, Conley set a new single-month fund-raising record for this year’s mayor’s race and suggested that his fund-raising prowess was real. He entered the campaign with $868,000 he saved over the last decade running unopposed as district attorney, and rival campaigns had suggested Conley would not be able to quickly post large gains.
Michael J. McCormack, a former city councilor, said raising a quarter million dollars in a month was an impressive feat. “There’s a benefit to being an incumbent, where you’re a DA or an at-large city councilor,” he said. “You’re used to raising money. You have a base to draw from. People who give to the DA or city councilors are used to doing it.”
City Councilor Michael P. Ross also excelled at raising money in May, amassing about $205,000, according to his campaign manager, Cayce McCabe. Ross has $465,000 in the bank.
For the second straight month, City Councilor John R. Connolly raised $168,000, bringing his two-month total to more than $335,000, according to his political director, Adam Webster. Connolly has a balance of almost $573,000 and has outpaced all candidates since January. Webster said.
Paul Watanabe, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said it wasn’t surprising that current officeholders are ahead in the fund-raising game.
“The question for some of the other candidates is, can they raise at least a credible amount of money and offset some of the monetary resources with organization and human power,” Watanabe said.
Among the other mayoral hopefuls, first-time candidate Bill Walczak raised about $80,000 in May and has about $151,000 on hand in his political account, according to campaign spokesman Wyatt Ronan. On Friday, Walczak was in the midst of 48-hour, end-of-the-month push and hoped to bring in another $9,000, Ronan said.
City Councilor Rob Consalvo reported raising $77,000 last month, giving him a war chest of $137,000, according to his campaign.
Another first-time candidate, John F. Barros, raised approximately $42,000 in May and has a balance of roughly $55,00o, according to spokesman Matthew Patton. Barros, who served on the School Committee, has raised about $72,000 since he launched his campaign in late April.
Former state representative Charlotte Golar Richie reported raising just over $27,000, which represented the full balance of her account. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the momentum we have gathered in just three short weeks,” Richie said in an e-mail.
City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo raised just over $32,000 in May and has just under $130,000 in his political account, according to his campaign.
City Councilor Charles C. Yancey, who did not provide updated fund-raising totals, has applied to be on the ballot for both reelection to the City Council and as mayor but has not said which office he will seek. Yancey had $21,690 in his campaign account at the end of April, records show.
Charles L. Clemons Jr. did not respond to requests for a campaign tally. Records show he had $2,726 in his campaign account on May 15 and had deposited $200 in donations since the start of the month.
John G. C. Laing Jr. and David S. Portnoy also did not respond to Globe queries.Laing had a balance of $1,980 in on May 15, records show. Portnoy, a blogger, has loaned his campaign $25,600, records show, and he had $13,590 left in his campaign account on May 15.
Two other candidates, David James Wyatt and Robert Cappucci, do not have active fund-raising accounts.Andrew Ryan can be reached at email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.