LESS THAN 24 HOURS before polls open, Shannon Liss-Riordan filed updated campaign finance numbers on Monday showing she has poured $9.3 million of her own money into her battle with Andrea Campbell for the Democratic nomination for attorney general.
With Maura Healey effectively unopposed for the Democratic nomination for governor, the Democratic race for AG has become the marquee contest on Tuesday’s ballot, with recent polls showing a neck-and-neck contest between Liss-Riordan, a prominent labor lawyer who has earned millions from class-action lawsuits representing low-wage workers, and Campbell, a former Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate.
Liss-Riordan has made strong gains in recent polls after blanketing the airwaves with ads and filling mailboxes with campaign literature. Campbell, who has criticized Liss-Riordan for using millions of dollars from legal settlements to fund her campaign, renewed those attacks on Monday after the new figures were reported.
“My opponent’s plan all along has to be to try to buy this election, and she’s spending close to $10 million to try to do that,” said Campbell. “Our campaign, in contrast, is people powered and grass-roots, and I’m meeting voters where they are to earn their support.”
Before filing her August finance numbers, Liss-Riordan had already reported $3 million in donations to her own campaign, putting a spotlight on the issue of candidates leveraging their wealth to win office.
Quentin Palfrey, who dropped out of the AG’s contest last week and endorsed Campbell, piled on the criticism of Liss-Riordan. “I think it’s terrible for democracy,” he said. “Voters deserve to make decisions based on experience and policy and values,” he said, adding that the barrage of self-funded advertising from Liss-Riordan “distorts” that.
Before his exit from the race, Palfrey had also leveled criticism at Campbell for past support she’s received from independent super PACs. In recent days, the MassChoice Independent Expenditure PAC, headed by former Boston city councilor John Connolly, has pumped $570,000 into the race on behalf of Campbell.
Liss-Riordan campaign manager Jordan Meehan took issue with the idea that her lavish spending could buy the race. “It’s a cynical view of voters to think that their vote can be bought,” he said in a statement. “We don’t have years of political capital built up and millions of dollars spent on past campaigns boosting our name ID like Andrea. Shannon is taking her message that she will be a champion for working people directly to the voters, and it’s resonating.”