The Race for City Hall

Connolly campaign sees huge cash haul during first weeks of October

City Councilor John R. Connolly has brought in more than half a million dollars in campaign donations during the first two weeks of October, more than double the amount raised by his opponent during that period.

The Connolly campaign raised about 1,900 donations for a total of $610,491 between the first of the month and Tuesday, while state Representative Martin J. Walsh campaign brought in $252,355 from 972 contributions, according to numbers the campaigns provided to the Globe.

“We’ve been raising money at a break-neck pace,” Connolly said Wednesday. “I’ve got five fund-raisers today, and we’ve got a pace like that right up until the end of the campaign.”

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As both campaigns furiously spend money ahead of the Nov. 5 general election, Connolly also has more than twice as much cash on hand, with $663,000 in the bank compared to Walsh’s $230,000.

Connolly’s October haul, which is already more money than he raised during any previous month since launching his mayoral bid in February, puts him on pace to top Walsh in monthly fund-raising for the first time since May.

Despite the heavy disparity thus far in October, both candidates have raised about the same amount of money overall—around $1.2 million —since the beginning of July.

Officials with the Walsh campaign rejected any notion that their opponent is gaining fund-raising momentum, suggesting instead that Connolly may be benefiting from donors who chose to wait until the general election to cut checks.

“How does a candidate raise so little money each month for each of the last three months, and then raise more than $600,000 in 15 days?” said a senior Walsh campaign official, who did not want to be named discussing their opponent’s fundraising.

Campaigns have several days after each campaign-finance deadline to report the details of donations, so the numbers released Wednesday do not indicate the names, occupations, or residency of the donors.

Connolly said he believes part of the spike in fund-raising is due to his ability to attract donors who previously supported candidates who were eliminated in the preliminary race. He noted that his team now includes fund-raisers from the campaigns of Mike Ross and Charlotte Golar Richie.

“A lot of supporters of other candidates have come over to me,” he said. “It’s not just dollars. These are a lot of Boston residents who translate into votes.”

The Connolly campaign believes the successful fund-raising push will help counteract the financial support Walsh is receiving on his behalf by special interest and labor groups.

The role of independent expenditures—money spent on behalf of the candidates by unions, political action committees, and other interest groups —in the race has been a point of contention between the two candidates.

Connolly, who benefited from about $60,000 in outside money during the preliminary race, called for both campaigns to sign a People’s Pledge in which both candidates would ask outside groups not to spend money on their behalf and would give a matching donation to charity in the event that any group did.

Walsh slammed the proposal as a gimmick, and has seen outside groups spend more than $1 million on his behalf since the beginning of the race.

“We’re going to need every single dollar,” Connolly said. “My opponent has more than $1 million in outside money so far. I’m going to need every dollar I can raise.

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