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As donors await decision, Charlie Baker enjoys best fund-raising month in years

Governor Charlie Baker.
Governor Charlie Baker.Nicolaus Czarnecki/Pool

With the clock ticking on a potential reelection decision, Governor Charlie Baker raised more than $173,300 in September, marking his best month of campaign fund-raising in two years.

The haul, reported Tuesday in campaign finance filings, was buoyed in part by a rescheduled fund-raiser on Cape Cod that drew both high-profile donors and a small group of opponents outside.

The second-term Republican took maximum donations from a slew of prominent business leaders — some, including restaurateur Steve DiFillippo, have openly encouraged Baker to seek a third term. The contributions pushed his campaign account to nearly $667,000.

The amount still pales to the $6.5 million Baker was sitting at that point ahead of his 2018 reelection bid. But it’s evidence of Baker’s ability to quickly pad his account should he run in 2022, a decision that’s expected to dramatically shape a quietly unfolding race.

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Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, who often pairs with Baker at fund-raising events and is viewed as likely to seek the GOP nomination for governor if Baker doesn’t, raised $63,955, she reported. The Shrewsbury Republican had $2.26 million in her campaign account.

Major Democratic donors within Massachusetts, meanwhile, appear to still be waiting to see how the field forms.

Danielle Allen, the Harvard University professor and author who launched her bid in June, has leaned in part on a network of donors within academia and around the country to fuel her account early in her campaign.

The Cambridge Democrat reported raising more than $113,000 last month, with all but $34,700 coming from addresses outside of Massachusetts. In fact, since Allen announced she was exploring a run last December, about 60 percent of the $879,000 she has raised flowed in from donors with addresses outside the state, according to campaign finance records. About $220,000 of that has come from donors who list “professor” as their occupation.

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Allen had $412,616 to spend by month’s end, the most in the Democratic field.

State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat, raised $46,354, according to her campaign, and spent more than she raised, leaving her with $222,104, according to her campaign records.

Former state senator Benjamin Downing also spent above the $29,000 he raised in September, marking the third consecutive month he’s done so. The East Boston Democrat had $69,189 in his account to begin October.

Attorney General Maura Healey, who has said she expects to make a decision this fall about her 2022 plans, continues to hang over the Democratic field. She had $3.2 million at her disposal following a quiet month in which she both raised and spent roughly $35,000.

Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who’s running in the Republican primary, reported taking $11,500 in donations. Since the Whitman Republican publicly launched his campaign on July 4, he’s raised roughly $36,000.


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