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Grossman to launch TV spot, adding to rush of ads, personal wealth in Fourth District primary

Becky Walker Grossman.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Boston Globe

Newton City Councilor Becky Walker Grossman, one of nine Democrats in the Fourth Congressional District primary, is readying a $250,000 advertising campaign starting this week, adding to the battery of television spots now peppering the race.

Grossman, 40, will follow at least three other candidates onto the airwaves ahead of the Sept. 1 primary, and will run a 30-second spot primarily out of the Providence market starting Tuesday, according to her campaign.

The ad centers on Grossman’s pitch for tighter gun laws, describing a discussion she had with her young son before he started kindergarten about what to do if there’s a “scary man with a gun.”

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And like other candidates, she is helping back the ad buy with her own funds. Grossman is loaning her campaign $350,000, and is pulling the money from a “personal account,” according to a campaign aide.

It adds to the tide of personal wealth in the race, where all nine candidates hail from Newton, Brookline, or Wellesley, three of the state’s wealthiest communities.

Christopher Zannetos, a tech entrepreneur from Wellesley, has loaned his campaign $306,000, accounting for nearly half of his contributions, according to campaign filings. Natalia Linos, a social epidemiologist from Brookline, has poured $35,000 into the race, and Dave Cavell, a former Obama speechwriter from Brookline, has loaned his campaign nearly $29,000, records show.

Ihssane Leckey, a former Wall Street regulator, has relied the most heavily on personal loans, committing $800,000 to her campaign to help buttress a $300,000 ad blitz she announced earlier this month. The money, the vast majority of which was loaned in April and June, came from savings she shares with her husband, a campaign spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Jake Auchincloss, a Newton city councilor, was the first candidate to begin running television ads, launching a nearly $30,000 ad buy earlier this month. Alan Khazei, the cofounder of City Year, followed with roughly $100,000 in television and digital ads, with plans to run them through July.

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Both, however, have held significant fundraising advantages in the race, entering July with roughly $1.1 million on hand apiece. Neither have reported any loans, nor has Jesse Mermell, a former Brookline select board member, or Ben Sigel, a Brookline attorney.

Mermell had roughly $448,000 and Sigel had $115,000 to start the month, records show.

Upended and overshadowed in recent months by the coronavirus pandemic, the race is largely considered wide open after Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, who has held the seat since 2013, opted to challenge Senator Edward J. Markey in the Democratic primary for US Senate.

There’s been no independent public polling of the Fourth District race, but one survey released by Grossman’s campaign last month found 60 percent of voters were undecided.


Matt Stout can be reached at matt.stout@globe.com. Follow him @mattpstout.