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TV ads from a PAC causes a stir in Massachusetts' lieutenant governor's race

Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
Creative Commons
Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.

A political action committee, or PAC, called Leadership for Mass. this week began running television ads in support of Salem mayor Kim Driscoll.

The Boston Globe first reported the group is backed in part by a real estate investor who has donated to prominent national-level Republicans.

State Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, is running against Driscoll in the Democratic primary. He said his opponent should answer to why "national level Republicans are now interfering on her behalf."

State Rep. Tami Gouveia, D-Acton, who is also vying for the job, in a statement called on Driscoll to " fully disavow this insidious PAC."

During an interview with NEPM in Springfield this week, Driscoll was asked about the advertisements and the PAC’s backing.

"You know, I don't really know that much about it,” she said. “I only read what I read in the newspaper. There's no collaboration or coordination permitted. I've been so focused on my campaign. We've got three weeks to go until September 6th's primary. We've been trying to get all across this commonwealth."

When asked about the criticism from Gouveia and Lesser, Driscoll replied: “I don’t think running a negative campaign is something I’ve ever engaged in,” before rattling off several items about her experience, issues she feels are important and endorsements. She concluded: “I’ve got a lot of folks that are supporting me, and I’m just going to keep it positive.”

As Driscoll pointed out, PACs are not allowed to work with campaigns directly. In terms of direct fundraising, Lesser remained well out in front of the field as of the end of July. According to state campaign finance data, he had $1,037,235 on hand. Driscoll sat at about $305,000 while Gouveia was at $196,000. That includes more than $140,000 Gouveia had accepted in public financing from the state.

At the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention in June, 41.4% of delegates endorsed Driscoll, 23% backed Gouveia while 21.2% went with Lesser.

The three-way primary will be held Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.