Walsh campaign buoyed by large checks from unions

A new flood of large checks from organized labor has buoyed the Boston mayoral campaign coffers of state Representative Martin J. Walsh.

Unions have contributed more than $87,000 in the past week to Walsh’s campaign, according to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. The bulk of the money came from laborers’ unions in Illinois, Virginia, Missouri, and Wisconsin, which each contributed $15,000. Boston magazine writer David S. Bernstein first reported the donations on Twitter.

State law limits annual campaign contributions from individuals to $500, but unions can donate up to $15,000. This year the Walsh campaign has received more than $426,000 from unions across the country in checks larger than $500.


Walsh is president of Laborers Local 223 and was previously head of the Boston Building Trades, an umbrella group that represents unions of ironworkers, electricians, and others. Walsh’s mayoral bid has been fueled in large part by organized labor.

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Unions have donated almost $488,000 directly to Walsh’s campaign. Outside groups funded by labor have independently spent another $1.5 million more on television ads, mailers, and other material promoting Walsh.

His competitor, City Councilor John R. Connolly, has benefited from $73,000 in outside spending by education groups. Connolly is an attorney and received significant support from lawyers, real estate developers, and people who work in the financial sector. Connolly has not reported receiving any donations greater than $500.

For Walsh, laborers’ unions across the country have been particularly supportive of his bid for mayor. Overall, laborers’ unions from 12 states have contributed more than $174,000 to his campaign, according to OCPF. In a statement, the Walsh campaign said it has also received donations from 7,700 contributors, which includes people from every Boston neighborhood.

“Contributions come from supporters in the recovery community, from those who completed their education later in life, from sons and daughters of immigrants -- from those who share Marty’s progressive values,” Walsh campaign spokeswoman Kate Norton said in the statement. “Marty is proud to have the support of working men and women in this campaign because their story is his story, and this support is a reflection of the impact he has had throughout his life and career.”

Andrew Ryan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.