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Ballot question campaigns outraise, outspend politicians


With less than a month to go before the general election, the airwaves are abuzz with ads pushing the sides on ballot questions that state filings show, in some cases, are outraising and outspending actual political candidates by millions.

The race for governor is arguably the most important contest in this year’s state election cycle, which also includes statewide races for attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer and auditor.

Still, despite the importance of those positions, some of the campaigns to convince voters whether to support the four ballot questions have far outraised the politicians in the first nine months of 2022, according to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Attorney General Maura Healey’s gubernatorial campaign machine has raised and spent over $4 million from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, according to filings. That amount may be enough to give Republican Geoff Diehl heart palpitations when he considers the less-than-$1 million campaign he’s run in that time.

However, even those two campaign coffers, when combined, are dwarfed by funding for Question 1, or the Fair Share Amendment.

“Educators, health care workers and small business owners are supporting Question 1 because it will constitutionally dedicate $2 billion per year, every single year, to improving our schools and colleges, fixing our roads and bridges and upgrading our public transit infrastructure, without working people or small businesses paying a penny more,” campaign manager Jeron Mariani told the Herald.

Supporters have raised over $21 million and have spent about $16.4 million of it to get their point across, according to filings.

Their opponents, who say the tax would drive people from the state, have raised almost $10 million to make their case and $6.7 million of that sum has been spent this year, according to OCPF.

Question 2 would set a floor on the amount of money an insurance company spends on patient care.

“A yes vote would regulate dental insurance rates, including by requiring companies to spend at least 83% of premiums on member dental expenses and quality improvements,” proponents say on their campaign page.

Filings show that through 2022 they’ve raised almost $8 million and spent over $5 million to convince voters.

Opponents, who claim the change would increase dental insurance rates, have raised $5.3 million and spent $3.4 million to prevent the regulation, according to OCPF.

That’s more than the candidates for attorney general, former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell and Cape Cod attorney Jay McMahon, have raised and spent combined.

The campaigns surrounding Question 3, meanwhile, are oddly quiet.

Proponents of increasing the number of retail liquor licenses a single business entity can own from nine to 18 have raised and spent over three-quarters of a million dollars to get voters on the same page, according to filings. The opposition, OCPF shows, has raised just $12.50 from a single in-kind donation, which means no money was exchanged, on Oct. 1.

Combined that’s about as much as state Sen. Diana DiZoglio has spent on her race against investigator Anthony Amore in the state auditor’s election.

Question 4 seeks to overturn a recently passed state law. A no vote would mean drivers without legal status would not get driver’s licenses in July of next year.

Proponents of keeping the law have raised $1.2 million to do so and spent $318,888. Opponents meanwhile, who staged a last-minute signature drive to get the question before voters, have raised about $130,000 and spent $64,900.


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