According to State House News Service, Chris Gabrieli announced that his spending cap will be $15.36 million for the Democratic Primary.
GABRIELI DECLARES $15.36 MILLION SPENDING LIMIT FOR PRIMARY: Christopher Gabrieli, who amassed a fortune as a venture capitalist, plans to spend as much as $15.36 million during the next two months, a pace rivals Deval Patrick and Tom Reilly are unlikely to be able to match. Gabrieli filed his self-imposed spending limit today with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, days after announcing he would not join Patrick and Reilly in abiding by a $1.5 million spending cap and receiving public funds. Not coincidentally, Gabrieli received a matching 15.36 percent of the delegates at last Saturdayâs convention, fewer than 20 actual votes above the threshold needed to qualify for Sept. 19 primary, meaning that he may spend up to $1 million per percentage point of convention support. Calling it âarbitrary,â Gabrieli said heâd chosen âa number thatâs been pretty lucky in my life lately.â Addressing reporters outside the McCormack Building Friday afternoon. âItâs an amount of money that I certainly donât think anyone will have to spend to win the Democratic primary, since thatâs going to be a battle about whoâs got the best ideas to get results for Massachusetts.â Gabrieli said he didnât think he would need to spend that amount, and called the specific number an attempt at humor. He joked with reporters, âI hope people thought it was at least slightly humorous that I picked 15.36 â worth a momentâs laugh, come on, somebody laugh!â
For some perspective, Mitt Romney spent $9,361,003.52 for his ENTIRE campaign in 2002 and that was a record. Tom Birmingham spent the most in the contested Democratic primary: $4,581,356.35 million These figures and more from the 2001-2002 race can be found in this report from the Office of Campaign and Polical Finance.
Tom Reilly has more than $4 million in his campaign account. Deval Patrick’s fundraising has also stepped it up. They both had something to risk by agreeing to participate in the public finance system. Yet both of those candidates were willing to abide by a $1.5 million spending cap for the primary. However, Gabrieli decision to opt-out allowed him to set the cap for everyone. . .apparently at $15.36 million.
He says that the number is “arbitrary” and that this race will ultimately be decided by “who has the best ideas,” but for all practical purposes, Gabrieli has now allowed himself to spend whatever he wants from now until September.
Clearly, Gabrieli intended this monstrous figure as a joke, but I’m not sure people are laughing. I think that was what The Phoenix’s Adam Reilly is alluding to in his post. I’m guessing that it has the potential to go over like a fart in church, i.e., not well at all.