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March 5, 2013

Gravel raises most in rep race

Newcomer Cole surprises with donations

PEABODY — If money is the mother’s milk of politics, then novice state representative candidate Leah Cole is getting plenty of nourishment.

As of Feb. 25, Cole’s financial report, filed in anticipation of today’s Republican primary versus Greg Bunn, shows her having raised more money than Bunn and more money than the Democratic candidate, Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne.

Cole, who has never been involved in a political race before, has raised $8,368. She’s already spent $4,521 of it.

Bunn, who has the endorsement of the GOP city committee chairman, Jarrod Hochman, and who worked in two statewide campaigns — Charlie Baker for governor and Richard Tisei for Congress — has raised $5,201 and spent $3,012.

Griffin Dunne is unopposed on today’s Democratic primary ballot. She and David Gravel, who is unenrolled but said he would caucus with the Democrats if elected, will face the winner of the Republican primary in the April 2 special election, a three-way race to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Joyce Spiliotis in November.

Griffin Dunne has raised $7,888, while spending $1,214.

Gravel is far and away the champion money raiser, having collected $15,545 and spent $10,307.

While Cole had garnered several contributions from family members in Peabody, a lot of her money has come from beyond the city. It was amassed in relatively small amounts, with 91 individual donations listed. Only a dozen of those are from Peabody.

“Some comes from Peabody, and some comes from out of Peabody,” campaign manager Ryan Chamberland said.

A selectman in Blackstone, near the Rhode Island border, Chamberland notes that he won a seat on his town’s Board of Selectmen at age 23, a year younger than Cole is now.

For that matter, Chamberland is a paid campaign manager, earning money listed as “in-kind” contributions totaling $2,700 and coming from the Marlborough Republican City Committee. He explains the outside interest in Cole and the Peabody special election simply: “A lot of citizens across the community are worried about the direction of the Statehouse as a whole.”

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