US House delegation building war chest
Every member of the state’s all-Democratic US House delegation is stockpiling campaign cash, even as lawmakers begin the process of redrawing congressional districts to eliminate one of the state’s 10 House seats.
Representative Barney Frank, who faced a tough reelection campaign last year, raised the most in the first three months of the year, pulling in more than $216,000. Representative Niki Tsongas, who also faced a GOP challenger last year, was a close second with more than $178,000.
An Associated Press review of filings with the Federal Election Commission gave little indication that any delegation member is reeling back fund-raising in anticipation of not running.
That could make life more difficult for state lawmakers forced to redraw congressional lines from 10 districts to nine to reflect sluggish Massachusetts population growth. If all 10 run, two will be pitted against each other in a newly drawn district.
There was speculation this year that Frank might not run again. Frank, who served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee before Democrats lost the House majority, batted down that rumor in February, vowing to run again in part to challenge Republican efforts to peel away parts of the financial regulations law he co-wrote.
“I intend to do everything in my power to fight their efforts,’’ Frank said at the time.
The three candidates who faced the toughest challenges last year are carrying the most debt.
Frank, who fended off an unexpectedly energetic opponent in Republican Sean Bielat, spent more than $4.3 million to retain his seat, including lending his campaign $200,000 of his own money, and is carrying $100,000 in campaign debt.
Tsongas, who also faced a tough challenger in GOP newcomer Jon Golnik, spent more than $1.9 million on reelection. Tsongas has about $147,000 left in her campaign account, but has nearly $84,000 in debt.
Representative William R. Keating of Quincy is carrying a debt of about $20,000. Keating, who defeated Republican Jeff Perry to fill the seat left open by William D. Delahunt, raised about $114,000 during the first quarter of the year and has nearly $100,000 left in his account.
Representative Richard E. Neal of Springfield raised nearly $129,000 in the first quarter of 2011, bringing his total to $2.2 million. Longtime Representative Edward J. Markey of Malden has the largest campaign war chest of the delegation, with more than $3 million.
Representative Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston raised $9,600, but is sitting on more than $600,000 in his account.
Representative Michael E. Capuano of Somerville, who along with Lynch has been mentioned as a possible Democratic challenger to Senator Scott Brown next year, raised nearly $150,000 during the first three months of this year and is sitting on more than $262,000 in cash.
No member of the delegation has anywhere near the more than $8 million in Brown’s account.
Representative John W. Olver of Amherst raised nearly $105,000 in the first quarter, bringing his total close to $125,000, while Representative James P. McGovern of Worcester had the smallest war chest, with nearly $35,000 after raising more than $72,000 during the past three months.
Representative John F. Tierney of Salem raised $88,000 in the first quarter, bringing his total to nearly $212,500.
The individual reporting the most cash in his US House account says he is not running for anything. Martin T. Meehan, a former US representative and the current chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, has more than $4.8 million in cash. Joseph Kennedy, another former representative who has $2.1 million, has also said he is not interested in running next year.