Thursday September 22, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- With the Democratic primary behind them, the remaining four contenders for the 3rd Berkshire District seat representing Pittsfield are ramping up their campaigns as they race toward a general election that's only four weeks away.

City Democrats chose Tricia Farley-Bouvier as their candidate at the special state primary Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the independent, Republican and Green-Rainbow candidates are all hoping to capitalize on what they see as widespread discontent with the city's previous Democratic leaders as they attempt to wrestle the seat away from the party.

"It's not looking good for the Democrats right now," said independent candidate Patricia "Pam" Malumphy. "People are feeling a bit defeated by what's happened -- not only with [former Rep. Christopher Speranzo] having vacated his seat to take a lifetime appointment -- I'm getting the sense that people are getting a little fed up with politics."

Likewise, Green-Rainbow candidate Mark Miller and Republican candidate Mark Jester said they expect to capture some of the independent and Democratic vote on Oct. 18.

Miller, 65, said he's appealing to candidates who are sick of electing insiders. He's targeting registered Democrats with a mailing that asserts the Democratic Party is failing to live up to its core values -- a sentiment Malumphy shared.

Miller and Malumphy, 52, are both former registered Democrats.

Jester is a former independent who enrolled as a Republican just before the special election cycle began.

Jester, 51, said his strategy is to get out the Republican and independent vote, but he said he's also focusing on appealing to conservative Democrats.

He said he hasn't been impressed by legislation coming out of the Democrat-ruled Statehouse.

"All the cuts that we've been getting all these years have been coming from the Democratic machine down there," said Jester. "I'm not going to go down to Boston to get along, not to get ahead, I'm going down there to get what's ours."

As campaigns get under way, all four candidates are focusing their efforts on interfacing directly with voters by running intense door-to-door campaigns.

In terms of fundraising, Miller has amassed the most campaign money. He had raised $11,700 as of Sept. 2, although the bulk of that money, $10,000, came out of his own pocket in the form of a loan to his own campaign, according to campaign finance records.

The bulk of his expenditures so far have been to pay his campaign manager, Peter Vickery.

Miller said donations are flowing in and he hopes to recoup most of the debt his campaign has incurred.

As of Sept. 2, Jester had raised $5,000 and Farley-Bouvier had raised $6,600 -- all of which were raised by individual donations, according to reports.

Malumphy, meanwhile, had raised $1,700 at the beginning of September, $550 of which came through a series of loans she made to her campaign.

Cost of campaigning ...

Tricia Farley-Bouvier raised $7,452; spent $5,120 on office, signs, buttons and stickers.

Mark P. Jester raised $5,087; spent $4,008 on signs, stickers and hall rentals for fundraisers.

Patricia "Pam" Malumphy raised $1,692; spent $602 on business cards and fliers.

Mark C. Miller raised $11,720; spent $2,723 on ads and hiring a campaign manager.