By Brian Messenger
---- — With the November election 51 days away, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas is enjoying a big fundraising lead over Republican rival Jon Golnik.
Tsongas, D-Lowell, raised $1.22 million before the primary election, according to campaign finance reports covering Jan. 1, 2011, to Aug. 17, 2012. In that same period, Golnik, of Carlisle, raised $166,000.
Tsongas ran unopposed in the Sept. 6 primary. Golnik defeated Tom Weaver of Westford to win the Republican nomination and a date with Tsongas in the Nov. 6 general election. The winner will represent the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Lawrence, Haverhill, Methuen, Andover and 33 other communities.
“I am incredibly grateful for the grassroots support our campaign has received,” said Tsongas. “In past election years, our campaign has raised in excess of $2 million and I am proud to say we are prepared to exceed that goal once again this year if needed.”
Tsongas listed $353,310 cash on hand in her pre-primary report, while Golnik reported $51,518 in his campaign coffers.
“We are confident Jon will raise the money he needs to win this race and bring real representation and jobs back to this district,” said Golnik Spokeswoman Alicia Preston.
Of the $1.22 million Tsongas raised, $982,000 was from individual donors. Party committees contributed $1,314 and other committees $236,823. All but $2,100 of Golnik’s $166,000 raised came from individuals.
Tsongas is also outspending Golnik by a wide margin. She reported $787,877 in operating expenditures to Golnik’s $129,013.
Golnik did not announce his candidacy until December 2011. He defeated Weaver by a roughly two-to-one margin in the Republican primary two weeks ago.
Weaver raised just $24,662 and spent $32,504 before the primary, records show.