Metro, Featured Story, Boston

Former BC Trustee Connors Helps Buttigieg Raise $1 Million in Boston

Two of the Democratic presidential candidates for the 2020 election hail from Massachusetts and a third represents Vermont, but last week it was South Bend, Ind. native Pete Buttigieg who raised $1 million through fundraisers in Boston—including the support of one of Boston College’s most prolific alumni.

Jack Connors Jr., BC ’63, Hon. ’07, the only two-time former chair of the Board of Trustees and namesake of the Connors Family Learning Center and the Connors Family Retreat and Conference Center in Dover, Mass., was one of the organizers for Buttigieg’s two fundraisers last week, according to Politico. Buttigieg raked in just under a million dollars last Thursday—Politico reported a grassroots event took place, followed by a big-ticket dinner at Fenway Park. 

Connors, a Democrat who has worked with the late former Mayor of Boston Tom Mennino, current mayor Martin J. Walsh, BC ’09, and chaired Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s reelection campaign last year, is one of the most prominent supporters among Buttigieg’s growing club of Massachusetts fans. 

“We believe that Mayor Pete Buttigieg just might be the right person to turn the ship around,” says an invitation obtained by Politico that is signed by Connors; Sharon McNally, president of Camp Harbor View—a camp for at risk and underserved children from the Boston-area that Connors co-founded—and Bryan Rafanelli, who is “an event planner, prominent gay political donor, and Hillary Clinton ally,” according to Politico.

“He is the first to say that his candidacy is ‘improbable,’ but there is something about him that inspires courage, hope, and optimism. He’s brilliant, he’s thoughtful, he has demonstrated a profound commitment to our country through his military and public service and he has shown a remarkable talent to articulate his hopes for the future. … We’re all in for Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”

Buttigieg has already visited Boston multiple times, including a visit to Northeastern University in April that, according to Politico, attracted 1,000 people in addition to attracting an 850-person audience in the Somerville Theatre weeks later. Buttigieg raised $150,000 at a Cape Cod fundraiser earlier this year, according to Politico, as he embarks on “traditional fundraising efforts”—a tactic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have both sworn off, according to Politico. 

“Traditional fundraising efforts” consist of employing a fundraising team dedicated to convincing the average American voter to make small donations and larger donors to heavily contribute to a campaign’s coffers. Warren and Sanders do not use such teams and rely solely on grassroots efforts and encouraging small donations through social media and smaller events. 

Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton has also thrown his name into the Democratic field, but did so at a late enough stage that he was not able to make the debate stage for the two-night event scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday night. 

Buttigieg has mainly raised money from Boston proper, “its wealthy suburbs and areas near Cape Cod,” through the first quarter of 2019, according to Politico. Warren outraised Buttigieg in Massachusetts last quarter. Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden held his first two Boston fundraisers earlier this month. 

Biden’s campaign has not publicly disclosed how much the candidate has raised, including at the Boston fundraisers. The New York Times reported Biden said at a recent fundraiser in New York that he has raised nearly $20 million in the first quarter of his candidacy.

Connors ranked 11th on Boston Magazine’s 2018 list of the 100 most influential people in Boston—right behind Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and just ahead of Jonathan Kraft, president of the Kraft Group.

Featured Image Courtesy of the Associated Press

June 25, 2019