4 min read

Reading Election Tea Leaves: Framingham City Council Contributions

One of my favorite data points to see how a local race is shaping up is to look at contributors from within the voting area. Not overall contributions, not even total money raised within the district or city, but number of contributors in the voting district.

By that measure, District 2 City Councilor Cesar Stewart-Morales has a comfortable lead in his re-election bid.

First, a caveat. While number of local contributors has been a pretty good predictor in key city elections so far, I think it works best when 1) turnout is low (since people motivated enough to contribute are a higher percent of the electorate), and 2) the race being analyzed is a top-of-the-ticket type of contest (so contributors in that specific race better reflect people who turn out to vote). I was more confident about this data two years ago, when there wasn’t also a mayoral race on the ballot.

All that said, let’s look at the data!

District 2

Stewart-Morales has raised money from 18 different contributors this cycle (2020-21) totaling $1,295 within the district, according to data filed with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance that I geocoded to determine the district location of each contribution. Challenger Jacob Binnall has received three contributions from voters within the district (chart below shows 4, which also includes $1,000 he gave to his own campaign).

Overall, Stewart-Morales raised $2,895, including $550 from elsewhere in Framingham, while Binnall has raised $2,075 (excluding his own contribution, which is in the graph below to show available campaign spending funds), including $1,200 from elsewhere in the city.

You can read the Q&As with City Councilor Cesar Stewart-Morales and challenger Jake Binnall on District2Framingham.com:

Stewart-Morales: http://www.district2framingham.com/2021/10/13/q-a-district-2-city-councilor-cesar-stewart-morales/

Binnall: http://www.district2framingham.com/2021/10/13/q-a-district-2-city-council-candidate-jake-binnall/

District 3

Next door in District 3, the race has attracted a lot of contributors to both candidates. While challenger Mary Kate Feeney is ahead of Councilor Adam Steiner in number of in-district contributors 23-18, that doesn’t feel like enough of a margin to be predictive by itself. This looks like the City Council race that could drive the most turnout independent of the mayoral race, though! I’ll be curious to look at district turnout numbers Tuesday.

Overall, Steiner has raised $8,640 from all contributors regardless of location while Feeney is close behind at $7,980.

District 7

Leora Mallach attracted donations from 16 contributors within the district vs Magdalena Janus’s 5 from voters besides herself. Mallach overall has raised more than twice as much money.

The District 9 race doesn’t have enough data to analyze since challenger Edgardo Torres has not filed contribution data. City Councilor Tracey Bryant reported 1 contribution within the district.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 2. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you have a mail-in ballot, you can drop it in a ballot-drop box either outside of the McAuliffe Library (Water Street) or outside City Hall until Tuesday at 8 p.m. as well as mail it. You can also choose not to use it at all and vote in person at the polls (but you can’t return the mail-in ballot at your in-person polling place).

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