Metro

RGA funneled millions into advertisement to boost Charlie Baker

BOSTON, MA - 7/13/2018: Governor Charlie Baker with Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders on the left joined others to announce the filing of a supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2018 that will invest in public education and school safety. (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 14baker
David L Ryan/Globe Staff
Governor Charlie Baker (center).

In what may just be the first of many substantial investments, the Republican Governors Association poured $2.8 million into a super PAC before it began running a new television spot touting Governor Charlie Baker’s re-election campaign, new records show.

The national organization made its contribution to the Commonwealth Future Independent Expenditure PAC in multiple installments, the last of which landed on July 20 — the same day the PAC made its $2.4 million ad buy.

The TV spot — which disclosed that the RGA was a donor but didn’t divulge how much it contributed — began running in local markets last week, giving Baker a boost even before he’s begun hitting the campaign trail ahead of the Sept. 4 primary.

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At the time, Jamie Rhoades, a PAC spokeswoman, declined to detail the RGA’s contributions or how much it spent on the advertisement. But records filed this week with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance show millions of dollars flowing into the race.

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The RGA contributed $1.05 million in April before giving another $1.75 million in late July, directly coinciding with the PAC making its media buy in support of Baker. The PAC also spent another $15,000 in “production costs,” according to records.

It also took in smaller donations. Chris and Lisa Collins, the latter of whom serves as the PAC’s chair, donated $5,000 apiece. As did Jennifer Nassour, a former chair of the state Republican party, and Brendon Giblin, a Southborough real estate developer who, in the past, has donated to Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, but Democrats as well.

Four years ago, the RGA contributed a total of $10.75 million to the PAC, helping fuel the $11.7 million in ads it ran in the months leading up to Baker’s victory over Martha Coakley that November.

Jon Thompson, an RGA spokesman, declined to say how much the organization intends to invest going forward, but he indicated the group is eager to help Baker this election cycle.

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“Governor Charlie Baker’s strong leadership and record of reform in Massachusetts is a successful lesson of effective governance that we want to promote,” he said.

Reach Matt Stout at matt.stout@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattpstout