Tim Allen has called for his fellow candidates for the First Hampden/Hampshire state Senate seat to just say no to (most) out-of-state contributions—a pledge that would presumably affect one of his competitors more dramatically than the others.
In a campaign release, Allen proposed a “Candidate’s Pledge,” in which all candidates would agree to accept no more than $5,000 in contributions from donors outside of Massachusetts. He also said that, if elected, he’d sponsor legislation to limit out-of-state money in Massachusetts legislative races.
Allen noted voters’ frustration with the “corrupting influence of money in politics, particularly money from outside sources, such as PACs, but also from donors outside a jurisdiction who are increasingly influencing elections. … Massachusetts campaigns, particularly legislative races for the House and Senate, are determined by Massachusetts voters and those campaigns should be also funded largely through in-state contributions and from those who live in a particular legislative district.”
Allen, who is Springfield’s Ward 7 city councilor, is one of five Democrats in the race for their party’s nomination to succeed Sen. Gale Candaras, who is leaving the Senate to run for Hampden Register of Probate. In addition to Allen, that field includes Ludlow School Committee member Chip Harrington; Aaron Saunders, Candaras’ former chief of staff; Tom Lachiusa, a member of the Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee; and Eric Lesser, a former aide in the Obama White House. (The primary winner will face Republican Debra Boronski in the general election.)
While Allen doesn’t mention other candidates in his release, it’s hard not to imagine that a limit on out-of-state contributions would be particularly effective against one of those rivals: Lesser, a one-time Obama campaign staffer who went on to work for presidential strategist David Axelrod and then for the White House Council of Economic Advisers (and who this weekend was featured in a pretty positive New York Times story, as a rare example of a member of the “Obama political generation” who’s opted to run for office). While state Legislature candidates have yet to file any campaign finance reports, Lesser’s time in national political circles will, presumably, translate into campaign donations from out-of-state contacts—donations that could help him build a significantly bigger campaign war chest than competitors who lack those kinds of national connections.