Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Kerry Healey's Checkbook

In the latest sign that Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey has the inside scoop on Governor Mitt Romney's 2006 plans, the Boston Herald reports today that Healey's multimillionaire husband cashed in a boatload of stock options last week. The Healeys now have a $13 million in disposable income, any amount of which they'd be free to spend on a gubernatorial campaign. The Herald article has the details:

Republican Healey's financier husband, Sean, pocketed $9.1 million last week by cashing in share options in his financial firm AMG.

That's on top of the $3.9 million he collected in May, giving his wife access to a potential war chest of $13 million for a gubernatorial campaign.
I said it before about Charlie Baker, but it bears repeating. There is no other candidate in either party right now who can compete with Kerry Healey dollar for dollar. Her $13 million may as well be $100 million, as there is no way that anybody matches her raising money at $500 a pop. Put another way, it would take 26,000 maximum donations to match the amount Healey could just write a check to herself for. I know that the contribution limit is supposed to reduce the influence of money in Bay State politics, but it seems to me that it gives self-funding multimillionaires a huge advantage over everyone else. It's a trend that my cousin the journalist calls the "New Feudalism".

Since you can't beat Healey by outspending her, you would have to out-organize her, and that's exactly what the Mass Dems hope to do with their Victory '06 campaign. Of course, Democrats in Massachusetts have an advantage; there are more registered Democrats here than people who voted for Mitt Romney in 2002. Charlie Baker, however, won't have that advantage if he wants to beat Healey in the GOP primary. Perhaps his best hope is that she will beat herself -- after all at this point in their respective careers, Jane Swift had won more elections than has Kerry Healey. Sure, this time around she'll have access to the best consultants that money can buy, but even a slick ad campaign can't sell a crummy product for long.