EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 12, 2013

Outside spending in Senate race tops $1.25M

BOSTON (AP) — Spending by outside groups in Massachusetts’ special U.S. Senate election has topped $1.25 million, with the largest amount going to support Democratic candidate Edward Markey.

The biggest spender in the race so far is the League of Conservation Voters, a national environmental advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The group has already reported pumping more than $545,000 into its efforts to help elect Markey, according to an Associated Press review of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Markey is facing off against fellow U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch in the Democratic primary on April 30.

The league’s money has been spent on staff time, press releases, recruitment of volunteers, office supplies, political bumper stickers, rally signs, field campaign consulting, pledge cards and repairs to digital tracking equipment.

The group announced last month that it planned to spend at least $650,000 on a field campaign to support Markey, including knocking on the doors of more than 240,000 likely Democratic primary voters.

“Our field campaign is resonating with voters across Massachusetts,” said Navin Nayak, the league’s senior vice president of campaigns.

The group said it is targeting many of the same neighborhoods it visited last year when it supported then-Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who went on to defeat Republican Sen. Scott Brown in the November election.

The group making the biggest push on behalf of Lynch is the International Association of Firefighters, which has reported spending more than $85,300, including money for gas, tolls, rally signs, car rentals and travel expenses. Lynch worked as an ironworker for 18 years and, along with Markey, has appealed to unions for their support.

Another group spending big to help defeat Lynch is the NextGen Committee, which has reported spending more than $196,000.

The group is backed by California billionaire Thomas Steyer, who has called on Lynch to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would run from western Canada to Texas. Opponents say it poses an environmental risk, but supporters say it will create needed jobs.

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