Chart of the Week: Spending In the Special Elections

A breakdown of the amounts raised in each race.

Tuesday saw special elections in five state House of Representative districts—four general elections and one primary—mostly in and around Boston. All were competitive, whether in the primary or general stage. But the amount raised and spent by the candidates varied considerably, which ultimately affects at least, in part, the ability for campaigns to reach and inform voters.

This chart shows the amounts reported raised in each race, through the latest reporting period, as a per-candidate average for those who qualified for the ballot. I have also bundled those together to show that their overall fundraising, although incomplete, is already higher than the average for house races in 2o12. The $30,000 raised on average, so far, is even higher than the average for the more comparable subset of 2012’s open seats:


As you can see, two races brought in far more money than the others. Both include large portions of Boston: the 13th Suffolk, previously held by Dorchester’s Marty Walsh, and the 2nd Suffolk, which includes Charlestown and was held by Eugene O’Flaherty of Chelsea.

On the other extreme, however, lies the 5th Suffolk of Dorchester and Roxbury. A poorer district, with traditionally very low turnout, this seat was opened when the House expelled Carlos Henriquez, following his conviction on assault charges.

The 5ths low average cannot be shrugged off for being measured earlier in the cycle. The figures are only through the pre-primary period ending 18 days before Tuesday’s election, but there is little evidence of significant late funding, and with no Republican challenger we shouldn’t expect much of a post-primary influx either.

The average was dragged down by the non-candidacy of Roy Owens, who reported literally no contributions. But even lead candidates Evan Carvalho—who won the primary—and Karen Charles raised only $14,415 and $8,696, respectively.