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Briefings: Hispanic Latino Leaders Now Chimes into Springfield General Election…

Cesar Ruiz

Hail Cesar! (via Hispanic Executive)

The SuperPAC homecare mogul Cesar Ruiz funded took a prominent role in municipal preliminaries. Now it is back for more ahead of Tuesday’s general election in Springfield. The Hispanic Latino Leaders Now Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee (HLLN) filed a new report with state campaign finance regulators that shows it is spending to support a clutch of City Council candidates.

The group, which organized itself as an entity conventionally called a SuperPAC, spent tens of thousands of dollars backing Hispanic candidates across the commonwealth in September. Most prominent among them was State Rep Orlando Ramos who had been running for mayor. Like Ramos, many candidates HLLN backed did not survive the preliminaries. This new batch may be a bit luckier.

The November 2 report shows HLLN doled out $18,403 in fresh spending. This is a fraction of the nearly $140,000 the SuperPAC spent on candidates before preliminaries in September. Thus far, HLLN’s money came solely from Ruiz.

The five candidates benefiting from the new spending are running for Springfield City Council seats. Three of the five were incumbents. Yet, unlike the spending before the preliminary, several candidates in this report are individuals who do not identify as Hispanic.

The five are Malo Brown, Victor Davila, Jose Delgado, Brian Santaniello and Tracye Whitfield. Only Davila and Delgado identify as Latino. The SuperPAC had previously endorsed Santaniello, who works for Ruiz at Golden Years Adult Care Services.

Santaniello, a former councilor, and Delgado are challengers running for at-large seats. Whitfield, an incumbent at-large councilor, is seeking reelection. Brown and Davila are seeking reelection to the seats for Wards 4 and 6 respectively.

Under state law, the candidates and the SuperPAC cannot coordinate.

HLLN’s organizing documents say its purpose is to elect more Massachusetts Hispanics/Latinos to public office. Nevertheless, its organizers have said they will back other candidates of other persuasions who support issues of importance to Latino residents.

Both Davila and Delgado received support in the preliminary. However, he spending financed canvassers, mailers and related administrative costs. The November 2 filing states HLLN spent $787 on mailers for Davila. But it did something a bit different for Delgado this time: $2,010 in radio ads.

Jose Delgado

Jose Delgado, now on the radio…well, indirectly, sorta. (courtesy Delgado campaign)

While the SuperPAC bought airtime during the preliminary for Ramos and Norman Roldan, an unsuccessful at-large Council aspirant, it did not do that for Delgado. The new report directs the buy for him to Full Power Radio, which owns a West Springfield radio station serves a Latino audiences. Although as of posting time, the station had filed no ad reservations with the feds.

In an interview, Delgado said he had not heard HLLN was going on the air for him. Citing the prohibition on coordination, he declined to comment further.

“Obviously we can’t work with them on anything,” he said.

Still, candidates have welcomed the spending.

HLLN is spending $6,713 on mailers for Whitfield. She thanks them for their assistance, given the cost of mailing.

“I’m extremely grateful the Hispanic Latino Leaders PAC supported me in this way!” she texted. “Mailers are really expensive! I really appreciate the support and I hope I make them proud!”

HLLN spent a similar amount on mail for Santaniello. The report has two entries benefiting him, one for $6,713 and one for $787. The expenditure for Brown is $1,393.

Aside from the ad buy for Delgado, expenditures in the November 2 filing paid for work at Marcus Printing Company in Holyoke. All expenditures have a date of October 26.

This was not HLLN first filing from after the preliminaries, though. On October 15, it filed three reports totally nearly $29,000 in spending. However, these expenses appear to be for work performed before the prelims, but invoiced afterward. Indeed, most spending was for Ramos. An HLLN organizer confirmed late bills prompted the reports.

HLLN has not been the only entity spending in Springfield’s general election, although the other is not a SuperPAC. The community organizing group Neighbor to Neighbor has spent about $1,700 backing candidates through its Massachusetts Action Fund. However, this is part of its endorsement process and records expenses it makes to help those candidates win.

The candidates benefiting from Neighbor 2 Neighbor are Delgado, Whitfield, Council candidate Nicole Coakley and mayoral candidate Justin Hurst.