Two candidates for statewide office have qualified for matching public funds for their primary election campaigns.
Democrats Tami Gouveia for lieutenant governor and Quentin Palfrey for attorney general submitted the necessary qualifying contributions and were certified by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance to receive funding in the following amounts:
Under the public financing law, M.G.L. Chapter 55C, a statewide candidate who is opposed, has agreed to observe a statutory spending limit and submits the minimum amount of qualifying contributions is eligible to receive public matching funds. Gouveia and Palfrey may submit additional contributions to receive matching funds for the primary.
The State Election Campaign Fund contained $1,002,490 as of June 30, according to the state Comptroller’s Office. That amount was split in half – $501,245 is available for the Sept. 6 primary election and the same amount for the November 8 general election. The law calls for candidates for governor to be funded first, with any remaining funds to be distributed to candidates for the other five statewide offices who are eligible to receive public financing. Because no gubernatorial candidates were certified to receive funding, funds were made available to Gouveia and Palfrey.
In order to be certified as eligible to receive public funds, a participating candidate must submit a minimum amount of qualifying contributions from individuals (only the first $250 of an individual’s contribution is considered as a qualifying contribution). The minimum amount for lieutenant governor is $15,000, and the threshold for attorney general is $37,500.
After the primary, all remaining candidates who have not agreed to limit spending and who are opposed in the general election by candidates who have agreed to limit spending will have to declare their self-imposed limit by September 9 for the final general election campaign (September 7 through November 8). Unenrolled candidates must file statements by August 30 declaring whether they will participate in the public financing program.
Public financing for campaigns has been in place for every statewide election since 1978. The sole source of funding for public financing in Massachusetts is the State Election Campaign Fund, which allows taxpayers to direct $1 from their tax liability on their annual income tax returns to the fund.