Republican State Rep Candidate Soliciting Donations From Patients


As a conservative radio talk show host, you’d be hard pressed to find me criticizing a Republican candidate running for office here in Bristol County.

Being a Republican in Massachusetts is hard enough; they don’t need any additional scrutiny from the same side of the road. A recent move by a local state representative candidate, however, made me take pause and question his strategy.

Jeffrey Swift of Mattapoisett is one of two Republicans running for State Representative in the 10th Bristol District, the other being Robert McConnell of Fairhaven. The two candidates will face each other in the September 6 primary with the winner taking on the champ of the Democratic primary, either incumbent Bill Straus of Mattapoisett or Richard Trapilo of Fairhaven.

Swift is a local chiropractor with offices in both Dartmouth and Mattapoisett and by the looks of things, it’s a thriving business with great reviews. Swift’s Mattapoisett home is valued at over $1.2 million, so one would think he would not have to ask his customers for campaign donations.

Yet that’s exactly what he did.

In an email to clients of his practice, Swift shared with patients that he was running for office and that he was not politically or corporately backed and wanted his customers to support him with a $50 donation. He even offered to come and pick up donations if necessary.

WBSM obtained a copy of the email that was sent out to patients:

Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

Campaign finance laws are complex and a quick glance at the rules at malegislature.gov show more about donations themselves and less about solicitation of funding. If it’s not a violation, it’s at a minimum not a good look for Swift. Asking patients for campaign donations just feels wrong.

I reached out three times to Swift in order to get his comments on why he chose this method of fundraising. Those calls were still unreturned as of this writing.

As discussed last Friday on the “WBSM Roundtable” segment of The Tim Weisberg Showfellow host Marcus Ferro joined me to discuss the issue and brought up an additional point when I stated Swift could clearly self-fund his campaign.

Ferro said that a lack of donations is often equated to a lack of community support and adding your own money makes that even more clear. If donations weren’t coming in through traditional avenues, certainly asking customers for funds would be a way to mimic public support.

Of course, it would be great if the MassGOP could provide some financial support to their candidates to subsidize these campaigns, but we know that’s never going to happen.

Raising money isn’t easy for a Republican in Massachusetts (just ask Geoff Diehl) but with hard work, it can be done. Using your patient list to send out emails is the easy way out and it makes people uncomfortable. There are better ways to go out and get campaign donations, most of which won’t make you cringe.

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