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Scott Brown Reaps Out-Of-State Campaign Donations

By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press
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Senator Scott Brown. (credit: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Senator Scott Brown. (credit: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (AP) — As he gears up for what could be a long and costly re-election fight next year, freshman U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is reaching out to donors in all 50 states to bulk up his campaign coffers.

Of the more than $2.25 million in itemized individual contributions Brown raised during the first half of the year, about 53 percent came from donors outside of his home state of Massachusetts, according to an Associated Press review of Federal Election Commission campaign records.

Those out-of-state supporters also made much larger individual donations on average than Brown’s Bay State backers, according to the review.

From within Massachusetts, Brown, a Republican, received 2,200 itemized donations averaging about $485 each. The total amount of itemized receipts Brown collected in Massachusetts was just over $1 million from January through June.

From New York, the average contribution was nearly triple that of the average Massachusetts donation at $1,520. Though Brown got just 166 itemized donations from New York, donors there gave more than $250,000 in itemized contributions to Brown during the first half of the year.

The same was true of the other top five fundraising states for Brown after Massachusetts: While the number of itemized donations was much smaller than in Massachusetts, the average size of the contributions was much higher.

The average itemized donation from California was $1,474, followed by Connecticut ($1,127), Illinois ($931) and Pennsylvania ($1,035).

Democrats have tried to use Brown’s fundraising prowess against the candidate.

Most recently, Massachusetts state Democratic Party chairman John Walsh said Wall Street rewarded Brown for helping water down last year’s sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial laws by pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into his re-election campaign.

A Brown spokesman said the senator worked to improve the financial overhaul and cast a key vote in favor of the bill to protect consumers.

There’s nothing unusual about Brown soliciting campaign contributions from out of state, said his political adviser Eric Fehrnstrom.

“Just like every other member of the delegation, Scott Brown raises money from people inside the state and from people outside the state. He’s going to need every dollar to fight back against the unfair negative attacks that have come to characterize his opposition.”

The itemized contributions the campaign is required to report only tell part of the story, Fehrnstrom said.

When unitemized contributions — typically smaller donation — are added, along with contributions from political action committees, the number of in-state donations show strong Massachusetts support for Brown.

Of the 15,287 individual contributions for the first half of the year — including itemized, unitemized and PAC donations — 71 percent came from Massachusetts and 29 percent came from out-of-state backers, according to Brown’s campaign.

But Brown’s own analysis confirms that out-of-state donors tend to make much larger individual contributions compared with his Massachusetts backers.

The campaign said that taking into account all donations, the average in-state contribution was $154, while the average out-of-state contribution was $448, nearly three times more.

They also point to Brown’s closest Democratic rival on the fundraising front, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, who has raised nearly $936,000 during the first half of the year, a good portion of it from outside Massachusetts.

According to FEC reports, about 42 percent of Khazei’s itemized contributions during the period came from out of state.

Khazei’s campaign said that when the smaller, unitemized contributions are added in, about six of every 10 dollars the campaign has raised came from Massachusetts donors. Khazei hasn’t accepted PAC donations.

Brown has stepped up his fundraising activity this year, pulling in nearly $2 million between April and June — his strongest fundraising period since he won the January 2010 special election to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Brown raised so much money so quickly during that special election — waged during the height of the debate over President Barack Obama’s national health care initiative — he couldn’t spend it fast enough.

The bulk of donations of $1,000 or more sent to Brown during the final weeks of the special election, which the campaign had to report within 48 hours, came from out of state, according to an AP review of the reports at the time.

Brown, who pledged to be the deciding vote to block the health care bill, ended the special election with $6 million left over in his campaign account.

The rest of the Democratic field for next year’s election is far behind both Brown and Khazei.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren raised more than $122,400 through the end of June. Robert Massie, a one-time candidate for lieutenant governor, raised more than $82,800, while Salem-based immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco raised about $6,000.

Wayland state Rep. Tom Conroy raised almost $61,000.

Massachusetts Democrats are waiting to see whether more candidates jump into the race, including Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who helped set up the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Top national Democrats have privately urged Warren to run, though Democrats in Massachusetts have yet to coalesce around any candidate.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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