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Timson’s fundraising shows strength

December 6, 2013

Walpole Selectman Chris Timson, running as an independent for state representative in the 9th Norfolk district in the upcoming January 7 special election, has so far raised more than $10,000 for his campaign, according to his pre-primary fundraising report filed with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance this week.

For a special election race, and as an independent, that’s not a bad cash haul, but he still raised far less than Republican candidate Shawn Dooley. Dooley is the frontrunner in the race, given that the district is strongly Republican and has not been held by a Democrat in more than two decades. Democratic candidate Edward McCormick is not expected to have a strong shot at victory, but could benefit from voters splitting between Timson and Dooley.

Most of Timson’s donations, which are from the time he announced his campaign in late October through November 22, came from people in Walpole or from outside the House district. That indicates that while Timson’s base in Walpole may be strong, he still has work to do getting his name out in the other communities in the district.

The only precinct in Walpole that is in the district is Precinct 5. The district also includes all of Norfolk, Plainville, and Wrentham, and parts of Millis and Medfield.

Timson collected donations from a range of current and former Walpole officials and other local notables, including one of his colleagues on the Board, Michael C. Berry (a Republican), and former Selectmen Eric Kraus, Michael Caron, and Al DeNapoli.

Berry donated $30 to Timson’s campaign, while Kraus donated $500. Caron and his wife donated $150 each.

Timson also collected a $250 donation from former Town Moderator and attorney Jim Brady. Bob Conrad, the owner of Conrad’s Restaurant in Walpole and Norwood, donated $250.

Planning Board member Richard Mazzocca, who lives in the district, donated $200 to Timson. Precinct 5 RTM Joanne Mulligan donated $100.

Dooley reported taking in $21,376 during the same period. Dooley had slightly more time to raise money, because he started his campaign almost a month before Timson did. On top of that, Dooley had more than $17,000 already on hand at the beginning of his campaign, for a grand total of $38,627. In total, Dooley’s campaign spent more than $17,000, while Timson spent only $67.15. His campaign, however, is also in debt to Timson for a Raffael’s fundraiser last month that cost $700.

McCormick reported spending and receiving nothing.

Timson, despite the fact that he is an independent, has been actively campaigning across the district and appears to be convinced he can win. In a special election, particularly in the middle of the winter, turnout will be low and activists in both major parties can be easily caught napping. There are also reports from the ground that Dooley is being seen skeptically by even some local Republicans. That said, the district is currently the most Republican-leaning state House district in the state.

Dooley’s heavy fund raising and campaign spending shows that he is not taking victory for granted.

Both McCormick and Dooley are from Norfolk, but are both largely unknown in the other communities in the district, just like Timson.

Timson has argued that he is a fiscally conservative Selectman, and he has touted his past support of both former Senator Scott Brown and Congressman Stephen Lynch, both seen as relative moderates in their respective parties.

On the other hand, Timson also supports a higher minimum wage, though said he doesn’t know how much of an increase, and he supported a $3 million property tax hike in Walpole in 2012.

The two other candidates in the race, including Dooley, also support a minimum wage hike.

Timson has not committed to caucusing with either party, if elected.

Although independents don’t normally get very far in political office, independents have in fact served in the state House of Representatives before. The last, and longest-serving, independent to serve in the Mass. House was David Gately, from Waltham. He left the House in 2000 after serving for almost a decade. He did not get very good committee assignments because of his refusal to caucus with either party, but he relished his independence.

Jay Gaffney, Saundra Graham, Marie Parente, and William Lantigua are among those in Mass. who have, since the 1970s, won state rep. races as “unenrolled” candidates. Graham, Parente, and Lantigua all later caucused as Democrats, however they did win election as independents.

The 9th Norfolk seat was vacated upon Dan Winslow’s unfortunate resignation a few months ago to pursue a career in the private sector.

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