Democratic Senate nominee Edward J. Markey raised roughly $1 million more than Republican rival Gabriel E. Gomez during a critical nine-week stretch of their special election campaign, leaving Markey with more than twice as much in the bank for the campaign’s final days.
The haul has allowed the Malden Democrat to leverage his 37-year incumbency into a nearly $4 million spending advantage. Compounded with the heftier sums that outside groups have been willing to spend for Markey, the disparity in resources has left Gomez with limited defenses under a bombardment of ads.
Markey had $4.6 million in his account on April 10, three weeks before winning the primary, according to Federal Election Commission records. Between that date and June 5, Markey took in $2.9 million in contributions, and spent $5.9 million, finishing the reporting period with $2.3 million.
By contrast, Gomez headed into the final days of the GOP primary with just shy of $500,000 on hand, and collected $1.7 million in the intervening weeks, along with a $300,000 loan from himself. Gomez spent more than $1.6 million. That left him with a $997,121 balance on June 5.
Markey meanwhile took in almost $300,000 from political action committees. Gomez got $170,000 from PACs.
Markey’s heavy cash advantage is emblematic of the deficit Gomez has faced throughout the campaign. Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans in Massachusetts and boast a superior voter-turnout operation. Augmented by the financial edge, Markey heads into the final days before the June 25 election with enviable advantages.
The pro-Markey contributions, both directly to his war chest and in a blizzard of independent expenditures, provide another reminder that Democrats both in Massachusetts and nationally, are still smarting from Scott Brown’s stunning Senate win and are grimly determined not to fumble away another special election.
According to the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks money in politics, Markey has seen nearly $2 million in independent expenditures aimed at boosting his campaign, with just under $362,000 spent against him since the election cycle began after John Kerry was named Secretary of State. Gomez’s numbers are virtually opposite. He has seen less than $439,000 spent on his behalf, and more than $1.8 million spent against him, most of it coming during the runup to the general election.
“What it says to me is that this is a guy who is worried, and so is the party establishment,” Kathy Kiely, the foundation’s managing editor, said of Markey. “They’re spending a lot of money to defeat a rookie and keep the guy who’s been in Congress longer than anybody else in New England.”
Former president Bill Clinton is scheduled to stump for Markey in Worcester Saturday, three days after President Obama headlined a Markey rally. First lady Michelle Obama was the marquee attraction at a fund-raiser in May that brought in $700,000.
Unlike last year’s race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, in which an agreement curbed outside spending on ads, this race has no People’s Pledge. Outside spending, much of which would have been prohibited under the pledge, has tilted heavily in Markey’s favor.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee bought $681,000 worth of air time for a pro-Markey ad. The Senate Majority PAC, which works to elect Democrats, bought another $500,000 worth of ads.
The NEXTGEN Committee, a super PAC formed by California billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, has spent more than $342,000 against Gomez, including $153,000 in ads on Pandora, a music-streaming service, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
Since the April 30 primary, Service Employees International Union, the League of Conservation Voters, and the League’s super PAC spent more than $700,000 on Markey’s behalf.
The Committee for a Better Massachusetts, a super PAC advised by Eric Fehrnstrom, a longtime adviser to Mitt Romney and Scott Brown, has spent only $4,850 in support of Gomez since the primary.
Gomez aides refused Friday to discuss details of his FEC filing, calling it campaign policy not to talk about such documents until they are available on the FEC website. Senate campaigns are allowed to file such campaign finance disclosures in hard-copy form, but there is a lag before the federal agency posts the data online.
Early in the campaign, Gomez resisted Markey’s urging to sign the so-called People’s Pledge to limit outside spending. If Gomez had taken the pledge and if it had lived up to its billing, much of the outside spending would not have flooded into the campaign.
Asked if the campaign regretted not taking the pledge, campaign adviser Lenny Alcivar replied, “Absolutely not.”
The vast difference in spending, said Alcivar, was due to Markey’s Beltway ties.
“It means that Ed Markey is a career, machine politician whose campaign is based on special-interest money from Washington and is the poster boy for why we need term limits and other reforms, to keep Washington politicians honest,” he said.
Markey’s campaign provided a breakdown of the FEC filing saying that 48 percent of its contributions came from in-state donations, with individuals giving $1.3 million. The average donation, according to the campaign, was $86.32.
Markey spokesman Andrew Zucker linked the Gomez campaign’s refusal to discuss its FEC report with the candidate’s refusal to release his 2005 tax return and reluctance to discuss his business record.