Governor Deval Patrick may not be running for reelection or for president, but the Democrat’s fund-raising apparatus is still humming as 2014 candidates are scrounging for dollars from weary donors.
Since stepping off a plane from Singapore Wednesday morning, Patrick has attended two fund-raisers in as many nights benefitting his federal Together PAC, established to finance his travels across the country and his state committee.
End-of-year fund-raisers are a hallmark of the holiday season as politicians try to collect checks from donors before the calendar turns and contribution limits are reset.
But Patrick’s fund-raising comes as candidates for governor and other statewide offices are trying to tap donors who have been fielding requests on a nearly endless cycle of special elections across the state.
“We have just had such an amazing string of political contests over the last few years,” said John Walsh, who stepped down this year as chairman of the state Democratic Party to run Patrick’s political action committee and state committee.
“Thank God Democratic donors are very generous. It’s never easy to raise money. We’re very grateful for the folks who help support the governor’s political activities.”
Philip Johnston, a prominent Bay State Democrat, helped organize an event at the UMass Club Wednesday night for Patrick’s Together PAC, gathering 30 to 40 people at the Franklin Street venue where Patrick visited the night he returned from a trade trip to Asia.
“I think he needs resources to tell Massachusetts’s story around the country, and there’s a good story to tell,” Johnston said. “He’s still got 13 months to go. It’s not like Deval Patrick is going to disappear after January of next year.
“He’s going to remain an active, key player in the country, and his success in Massachusetts will translate to success in the future.”
Johnston acknowledged that fatigue may be setting in for reliable donors who have helped support candidates from the local level to the statewide US Senate races that have followed from the death of US Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the appointment of John F. Kerry to be secretary of state.
“We’re getting tuckered out,” Johnston said. “It’s just been a lot of fund-raising for the past five years. It doesn’t stop, and it’s not just fund-raising. It’s field, too.”
On Thursday night, the governor and his wife Diane hosted their annual holiday fund-
raiser at the Fairmont Copley hotel. Tickets to the event sold for $100 to $500, with proceeds going to the Deval Patrick Committee, while guests could pay $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000 for a private reception prior to the main event, with checks going to the governor’s Together PAC.
Asked what plans he had for the money he would raise, Patrick said, “What I have been doing, which is moving around the country and around the state and telling the story of what we’ve been doing here and the importance of grass-roots campaigning and governing for the long term.”
Patrick recalled being impressed after sitting down with the prime minister of Singapore and hearing about how government in that country was making plans for 10 to 15 years in the future.
‘ We’re very grateful for the folks who help support the governor’s political activities.’
“That’s exactly the kind of model I believe is right, that I believe is lacking in much of American governance and what we’ve tried to do differently in Massachusetts,” Patrick said.
Records filed with the Federal Elections Commission show the Together PAC with a balance of $303,683 through October, while Patrick’s state committee had $88,434 in cash on hand as of Dec. 15, according to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Walsh said the governor’s fund-raising team is paid through a combination of federal PAC and his state committee funds.
Though 90 percent of operating expenses are covered through the federal PAC, Walsh said it was necessary to maintain a balance in the state account, even though Patrick does not plan to run for state office in 2014.
“The basic reason is that we still do state activities,” Walsh said. “We still go out and support state legislators. We do work on the governor’s agenda here in the Commonwealth, but most of our raising and spending is for the federal PAC.”
The governor’s holiday event, according to Walsh, is the only major fund-raiser on the calendar to benefit the state committee.
“If you look at it, he has substantially taken his foot off the gas,” Walsh said. “This is not the pace of a reelect campaign.”