All five Suffolk D.A. candidates' contributions from residents in Boston's most prosecuted neighborhoods
With three days to go until the Suffolk County District Attorney primary Sep. 4 -- arguably the most important election residents of Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop have had in decades -- there has been all of ZERO public polling to date.
All five Suffolk D.A. candidates' remaining cash on hand. Credit: Kristin Johnson
To try and get a better read on the election, last week education activist and design guru Kristin Johnson and I went into the Massachusetts Office of Campaign Finance database and began geolocating political contributions to the candidates on maps. As the graphic above center shows, the top three candidates with the most cash on hand, in order, are Greg Henning, Rachael Rollins, and Shannon McAuliffe.
In the image to the above left, we mapped the contributions made to Greg Henning and Shannon McAuliffe in two areas that a MassINC report (above right) shows have the highest concentrations of jail and prison admissions in Suffolk County.
Henning's OCPF contributions mapped in two of Boston's most heavily prosecuted areas
McAuliffe's OCPF constributions mapped in two of Boston's most heavily prosecuted areas
In a Commonwealth Magazine piece this week, Michael Jonas detailed how Greg Henning defies the expectations of a tough-on-crime gang prosecutor by mentoring one or two of the tens of thousands of people he and his office sent to jail. Similarly, in another Commonwealth Magazine piece, Jonas highlighted Shannon McAuliffe's work in the same communities. Greg's polar opposite, he cites her "lifetime commitment to social justice" in defending young men accused of crimes and helping them avoid jail.
That a career prosecutor who works in a unit that almost exclusively prosecutes young men of color from these neighborhoods hasn't received much support there is hardly surprising. And as the graphic above left shows, for all of his mentoring and helping victims and witnesses of crimes in "thousands of cases" in these neighborhoods, he has only ever received a single contribution from anyone with an address there.
What is more surprising, though -- shocking, even -- is that Shannon McAuliffe hasn't done much better than Henning. Though she is his literal antithesis, and has spent her entire career trying to keep people from the neighborhoods above out of the system while Greg and his colleagues put them in, the above graphic shows she has received a total of four contributions from addresses there, just three more than Henning.
Contrast Greg and Shannon's maps with Rachael Rollins's, above left, and it becomes clear the issue is certainly not lack of ability to contribute. Rollins, who did not benefit from a Commonwealth feature exploring her public service, (conversely, The Boston Globe did an in-depth feature attacking her), has received a total of 35 contributions in the same two areas -- seven times more than Henning and McAuliffe combined.
A graph of money raised vs. money spent by the five Suffolk D.A. candidates (Due to an irregular $85k deposit from another account in April, Shannon McAuliffe's reported fundraising total may be less than Rachael Rollins's). Credit: Kristin Johnson
Linda Champion, which the above graphic shows has been dramatically out-earned and out-spent by Henning, McAuliffe, and Rollins (like Rollins, Champion also never received the benefit of a mainstream local feature detailing her charitable work), has received 12 contributions from these two areas, two times Henning and McAuliffe.
The same goes for Evandro Carvalho, also dramatically out-earned and out-spent by Henning and McAuliffe, and who also didn't get a Commonwealth Magazine feature (notice a pattern?). He received 15 contributions, five times Henning and McAuliffe.
The OCPF contributions from the city's most prosecuted neighborhoods mapped for all three candidates of color
The OCPF contributions from the city's most prosecuted neighborhoods mapped for both white candidates
When you look at the two images above, side-by-side, it becomes clear that residents of Boston's most prosecuted neighborhoods are trying to say something. It doesn't matter if a candidate is a career prosecutor or a career defense attorney. It doesn't matter if a candidate has mentored a few kids they sent to jail, or a few thousand they defended in court. The people who live in neighborhoods under siege from the D.A.'s office have given candidates who aren't disproportionately targeted by jail and prison, and who don't live in the neighborhoods that are, enough chances to lead.
Only instead of listening, and respecting what data shows to be the clear wish of those who live in the crosshairs of the disruption, dislocation, and trauma engendered by a never-ending cycle of prosecution and incarceration, the two leading moneygetters in terms of totals raised to date, Greg Henning and Shannon McAuliffe, are steamrolling them with enormous sums from more affluent ZIP codes that OCPF data shows come predominantly from lawyers, police officers, and other criminal justice system actors that are making a living in the same systems that are targeting these neighborhoods.