As a public employee, John FitzGerald is limited in what he can do to raise money for his District 3 City Council campaign. The longtime Boston Planning and Redevelopment Authority official can’t make fundraising phone calls and he can’t personally accept money for the campaign, among other restrictions.
But that didn’t stop his campaign from pulling in a massive sum in just one month. At $87,000, the number rivals what mayoral candidates and longtime city councillors pull in. The figure also outpaced the July total from the six other candidates who are running for the Dorchester-based seat that Frank Baker will vacate in January. They collectively raised just under $43,000.
Under ethics rules, FitzGerald, who has held various city jobs for the last 17 years and moved to Adams Village 10 years ago, can attend fundraisers hosted on his behalf as long as someone else is available to collect the check. That was the case when FitzGerald walked through the doors of former mayor Marty Walsh’s Lower Mills home on a recent Wednesday evening.
Walsh, who left the Biden administration earlier this year to head up the NHL players’ union, endorsed FitzGerald in July and hit the trail with the candidate on a sunny weekend. Baker, the exiting councillor, joined them in knocking doors. The move keeps Walsh in local politics, and in endorsing FitzGerald, he noted a personal connection: Walsh served with his father, the late state Rep. Kevin Fitzgerald, in the Massachusetts legislature.
Adding up Walsh and the goodwill built up by his father equals a campaign kitty that sat at $126,000 at the end of July. The preliminary is set for Tuesday, Sept. 12.
The list of FitzGerald donors for July included Walsh and his mother Mary, who each gave $1,000; Suffolk CEO John Fish; former Walsh aide Dan Koh, now a deputy cabinet secretary inside the Biden White House; Josh Kraft of the Kraft Group, which owns the New England Patriots; Menino’s former redevelopment chief Harry Collings; former House Speaker Robert DeLeo; the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association; and a host of current and former city employees.
FitzGerald benefited from another fundraiser in early July, geared towards friends and family, held inside the Banshee pub on Dorchester Avenue.
The other candidates are Meetinghouse Hill activist Jennifer Johnson; former government aide and schoolteacher Barry Lawton of Uphams Corner/Savin Hill; Savin Hill labor lawyer Matt Patton; Fields Corner teacher and pastor Joel Richards; former education nonprofit leader Ann M. Walsh of Lower Mills; and housing activist Rosalind Wornum of Ashmont.
Coming in second behind FitzGerald in fundraising for July was Patton, who pulled in $17,650 and had $32,921 in cash on hand at the end of the month. He received donations from developer Sam Slater and former District 8 Councillor Josh Zakim.
Ann Walsh, the former nonprofit leader who briefly stepped away from the trail after her mother passed away, raised $9,451 and has $23,927 in cash on hand. Wornum pulled in $7,114, ending with $6,626 on hand, while Richards raised $5,571 and had $30,151. The rest raised under $2,000 each.
FitzGerald’s fundraising haul also topped accounts outside of District 3. Citywide, incumbent Councillor At-Large Erin Murphy raised $50,226 and found herself with $118,836 in cash on hand, while fellow incumbents Ruthzee Louijeune and Julia Mejia raised $36,441 and $26,500, and had $169,355 and $59,721 in cash on hand, respectively.
Newcomer Henry Santana, a former Wu administration aide, raised the most among the challengers, bringing in $12,245 and having $20,615 in cash on hand. South Boston ironworker Bridget Nee-Walsh was behind him, with $6,632 raised and $8,405 in her account. The rest of the field — Mattapan community activist Clifton Braithwaite and anti-vaccine protesters Catherine Vitale and Shawn Nelson — collectively raised under $4,000.
In District 5 (Hyde Park and Mattapan), where incumbent Ricardo Arroyo is facing three challengers, he found himself out-raised, with Boston police officer Jose Ruiz raising just over $20,000 to Arroyo’s $16,467, and former Wu administration aide Enrique Pepen raising $7,872. Jean-Claude Sanon, who has previously run for the seat, brought in just under $4,000.