BOSTON (WWLP) — Government watch group Common Cause Massachusetts is asking U.S. Senate candidates Edward Markey and Gabriel Gomez to take the People‚Äôs Pledge. The pledge requires candidates to pay a fine out of their own campaign funds if an outside group advertises for their benefit in Massachusetts. Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown took the pledge last year. Common Cause says it kept the elections fair and honest.
‚ÄúIt greatly reduced negative advertising,‚ÄĚ said Tyler Creighton, the assistant director at Common Cause. ‚ÄúIn Massachusetts there was five times less ‚Äėdark money‚Äô or completely secret untraceable funds in the election.‚ÄĚ
Common Cause released a study comparing last year‚Äôs Warren and Brown race to other expensive U.S. Senate races in Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio. In those states, 15 top Super PAC donors were able to match all candidate donations contributed by 175,000 people. In Massachusetts, small donations outmatched outside groups 3 to 1.
‚ÄúAds run by outside groups tend to be much more distorted, they tend to be much less truthful,‚ÄĚ said Common Cause Massachusetts executive director Pam Wilmot. ‚Äú97 percent of the money in these states went to negative advertising.‚ÄĚ
In other states, television ads were more than twice as likely to be negative compared to Massachusetts. Congressman Markey has called on Gomez to take the people‚Äôs pledge with him. But the Republican and former navy seal has so far refused.
Election watchers warn Massachusetts voters to prepare for a bombardment of negative ads if Markey and Gabriel do not take the pledge or negotiate a compromise.
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