SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 1, 2012

Incumbent Speliotis outpaces Bennett in campaign financing

By Jesse Roman Staff writer
The Salem News

---- — DANVERS — Incumbent state Rep. Ted Speliotis has a significant advantage in campaign resources with less than a week to go before voters head to the polls, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

Speliotis, a Democrat from Danvers, raised more than $8,000 between Aug. 8 and Oct. 19, to add to more than $32,000 he already had in the bank.

Republican Dan Bennett, a Danvers selectman, raised about $5,500 over that period, but started with just $50.

Speliotis now has about $21,800 cash on hand, while Bennett has about $4,500.

They are competing to represent the 13th Essex District, which includes Danvers and parts of Peabody and Middleton.

Bennett, who entered the race after a surprising and successful write-in bid during the September primary, said he isn’t worried about being the financial underdog.

“He can spend all the funds he wants,” Bennett said. “I don’t think spending a ton of money in a local race like this is going to make a lot of difference. It’s about getting your face out there and meeting voters.”

Both men have been out knocking on doors, distributing signs and sending out mailings in this abbreviated campaign, which has been going on now for only about two months.

Speliotis said he has “mailed almost every week since (Bennett) got in this campaign.”

The incumbent has spent about $18,500 in mostly printing and mailing in the last month, according to campaign finance documents. Bennett has spent about $1,000.

Although documents show that Bennett has about $4,500 left in his coffers, most of that is now gone after the candidate purchased and mailed 10,000 5-by-8-inch color postcards to houses across the district this week, he said.

Bennett said his campaign has been “very frugal,” reusing many of the lawn signs and bumper stickers he purchased for his unsuccessful 2010 campaign against Speliotis. Bennett has also purchased advertising in local newspapers and online.

Speliotis, who raised much of his money during a fundraiser at the Hong Kong Cafe on Maple Street earlier this month, is confident that he has the resources to win.

“We met our financial goal; we’ll be able to do all the mailings we wanted to do,” he said.

Time is going to be the X factor in the race, however, and both men clearly believe that a robust ground game in going to be crucial.

“This is almost like a special election, it’s so short and abbreviated. It’s a way different feeling,” Speliotis said.

Speliotis, one of the state’s longest-serving elected officials, defeated Bennett by fewer than 500 votes in 2010.