“I’m smarter than the average bear,” with those six words to the Metrowest Daily News Marlborough Republican City Committee Chairman, and Red Mass Group Editor, Paul Ferro let the Massachusetts Democratic Party know he won’t be intimidated by their bullying. You’ve by now heard the stories as reported in the press that Ferro is allegedly the mastermind behind some nefarious scheme to beat Democrats at the polls. John Walsh, the Chairman of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts, seeing Ferro’s effectiveness immediately thinks he must of cheated. Why wouldn’t Walsh think that? The Democrats have stacked the decks against the GOP haven’t they?
This isn’t just about Ferro and what he has done in Marlborough, it is about ensuring that Ferro’s success isn’t replicated in other parts of the state. To see why, you have to look at what Ferro has accomplished.
In the early 2000s fresh from UMass Amherst, Paul Ferro took over the reins of the anemic Marlborough Republican City Committee. In the decade since, he built, with the help of others, the MRCC into a powerhouse in local politics. The MRCC worked to elect a working majority of conservative City Councilors on the Marlborough City Council, a State Representative in Steven Levy, and this past year a Republican Mayor in Arthur Vigeant. For that success, a full press onslaught was brought against Ferro by the Service Employees Interantaional Union in the last municipal election. The canvassing campaign by the SEIU caused Ferro to lose his seat on the Marlborough City Council. But they couldn’t stop the success of a Republican Mayor being elected.
Now that you know the success of Ferro and the Marlborough Republican City Committee, you can see why John Walsh and the Democratic Party want to stop him. Which brings us to the 2010 cycle.
With the selection of Richard Tisei by Charlie Baker as his running mate, Ferro saw that there would be an opportunity to help candidates down ballot by reaching out to those who would not support the State Party with Tisei near the top of the ticket. Since a person can only give $5000 in aggregate to any party committee, be it state or municipal, Ferro knew that since some people would choose not to give to the state party he could use that money to help conservative candidates in the state. All of which is legal. So he raised money and spent it on candidates whom he knew stood a good chance of winning.
And win they did. A high percentage of the candidates chosen by Ferro to support won their races. All of them against an onslaught of special interest and union money. None more so than Keiko Orrall in last years special election.
While in most elections one can expect unions to help out a Democrat, in the case of Roger Brunelle, Keiko’s opponent Unions were the primary driver of his campaign. Of the approximately $49,800 raised by Brunelle, according to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, $43,350 of it was from a hodge podge of unions. Many of which gave over $1000, and as high as $14,800 to his campaign, in one check. Coupled with the independent expenditures spent on his behalf the Union number reaches $60,800 in direct and indirect Union money.
To contrast that $60K+ in union money, Ferro spent roughly $9,000 on the race according to OCPF. About 15% the Unions spent. It was effective and Keiko won. And that’s what Walsh is truly upset at, the fact that Ferro has found a formula for electoral success in Massachusetts. For that he must be stopped, and gosh darnit, Walsh is gonna be the one to stop him.
You see this is not about what is legal or not, because everything Ferro did is legal, this is about being outsmarted at the game of electoral politics by a Republican, even though you stacked the deck against him.
Disclosure: Paul Ferro is an editor at Red Mass Group, and Robert Eno the publisher of Red Mass Group sells political direct mail, including to the Marlborough Republican City Committee.