If anyone thinks Democratic mayoral contender John Gomes’ first foray into fundraising was a fluke–raising $100,000 in the month of December–the summer flounder has bulged into a blue whale of bucks.
Friday night, more than 300 guests jammed the Vasco Da Gama Portuguese Center in The Hollow with an estimated haul of $65,000 (and counting); leaving no doubt Gomes has the financial firepower and potential ground troops to threaten the mayoralty of Mayor Joe Ganim in a September primary.
Former backers of Ganim, including Gomes who served in the administration for nearly seven years, have passionately built momentum while inspiring new people to join a mission backed largely by Hispanic, Cape Verdean and Portuguese communities. It doesn’t hurt that multi-linguist Gomes speaks to them fluently in their native languages, an edge no mayoral candidate has ever brought to the table.
Gomes was a candidate for mayor in 2011 plagued by fundraising issues. This is a much different Gomes, one who is well-financed and oozing confidence with a coterie of support with a common purpose.
He’s also taking a page from the Joe Ganim playbook in 2015 when as the comeback kid Ganim was a one-man riot squad burrowing into neighborhoods highlighting injustices in the city on a variety of fronts. Ganim inspired involvement of new voters hammering home his second-change message.
Gomes is making handy use of social media blasting out messages and videos on a regular basis including interaction with residents and businesses on Facebook. It’s like having your own news organization to connect with the electorate.
In the old days of campaigning prior to social media, candidates were at the mercy of traditional news organizations to connect with voters. Today it’s now double-barrel action, social media outreach combined with direct spending, be it mail, television, radio, door knocks or digital outlets.
Ganim you say has a lot of money too? You bet, but that’s to be expected from a seasoned fundraiser who will likely report in April more than $300,000 raised overall. Gomes will report more than $200,000 raised with six more months of fundraising left to boot.
Gomes’ showing will force the Ganim political operation to raise more money than anticipated while also undercutting the standing of State Senator Marilyn Moore, who had been considered the mayor’s closest rival based on her 2019 primary showing. She must show fundraising strength early or risk being a mayoral cycle afterthought.
Key supporters from Moore 2019 have defected to the race of newcomer Lamond Daniels.