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In blue Bay State, Romney still nabs donors’ support

While a number of leading Massachusetts state officials have poured funds into efforts to support President Barack Obama’s re-election, Republican candidate and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney has managed to garner donations from high-profile leaders of multiple Bay State companies.

Several local and state leaders have donated to the Democratic cause, but a number of the Commonwealth’s businessmen have also funneled money behind Republican campaigns for Romney and U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

“There are two main reasons people donate to campaigns,” said Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation in Washington, D.C.  “The first is that they really care who gets elected, and the second reason is because they want to have access to the candidates who are elected.”

Drutman said money directly donated to a candidate is used to pay for campaign expenses.  These expenses include advertising, employee compensation and get-out-the-vote efforts.

Although the Obama campaign outraised the Romney campaign by about $2 million in August, pro-Romney money is strong in Super PAC donations.

Super PACs, political action committees, are barred from coordinating with campaign officials and can raise unlimited funds.

An individual can donate a maximum of $2,500 to a campaign, but Super PACs have no limits on donations.

As of Monday, the most prominent pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future, had raised more than $87 million, while the prominent pro-Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, trailed with about $38 million, according to ProPublica.

Drutman also said Super PACs “can raise unlimited amounts from wealthy donors.”

Federal Election Commission records show a number of high-profile Massachusetts residents have poured money behind Obama, including Massachusetts State Treasurer Steven Grossman, who donated $1,000 to the Obama Victory Fund.

“There are probably four reasons why I’m such an ardent supporter of the president, and I’m doing everything I can to help him get re-elected,” Grossman said.

Grossman said he likes the president’s sense of “generational responsibility,” his commitment to “leave no one behind,” his values and his trustworthiness.

Grossman said character is the most important thing he looks at in the presidential candidates.

Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump also donated to support Obama in his re-election.

“I continue to believe in the president’s prescription for economic growth and his respect for the rights of all individuals in our society and other nations and peoples around the globe,” said Bump in an email.  “He embodies my aspirations for this country.”

Boston University President Robert Brown donated to Democratic Congressman Michael Capuano’s campaign, an Eighth District representative running for the Seventh District seat in November.

BU Provost Jean Morrison donated more than $1,500 to Obama’s campaign, according to the FEC website.

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, known to be an ardent supporter of Obama, made several donations throughout the past year to Obama’s campaign.

Despite the number of high-profile donations for Democratic campaigns, Republican money flow is also evident in the primarily Democratic Bay State.

Stephen Zide, a member of the BU Board of Trustees and the managing director of Bain Capital, gave $500,000 to Restore Our Future, according to the FEC website.

Joseph Tucci, chairman of the Board of Directors and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts–based EMC Corporation, donated money to Romney’s campaign, according to the FEC website.

Ronald Sargent, chairman and CEO of the Massachusetts-based Staples, also donated to Romney’s campaign, according to the FEC website.

Sargent also donated to Brown’s campaign.

William Swanson of Waltham-based Raytheon, Jose Almeida of Covidien, whose U.S. headquarters are in Massachusetts, and Joseph Hooley of State Street Corporation donated to Brown’s campaign, according to the FEC website.

Many leaders of nonprofit groups in Boston donated to Democratic campaigns.

Nancy Brennan, executive director of the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, has donated funds to both Elizabeth Warren’s campaign and the Victory Fund for Obama 2012.  Although people who donate cannot control what their money is used for within the campaign, Grossman said he hopes that some of his money is used for grassroots organizing.

“I always believed that organizing was the vehicle to winning elections,” Grossman said.

Grossman said he hopes his money will go toward grassroots activities such as phone banking, door knocking and sign holding.

“That’s what I hope some of that money I actually gave goes too,” he said.

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