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Ogonowski Closes Financial Gap With Tsongas

With two weeks to go until the special election to replace Rep. Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), Republican Jim Ogonowski is closing the financial gap with his better-funded Democratic opponent, Niki Tsongas.

Both candidates filed their last fundraising reports before the special election. Between August 16 and September 26, Ogonowski raised $200,500 and banked $221,000. Tsongas raised significantly more money -- $600,000 plus a $50,000 personal loan – but spent heavily on television ads on broadcast in the expensive Boston media market. She ended the period with $240,000 cash-on-hand.

Keep in mind that President Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) both fundraised for Tsongas right after the filing deadline, giving Tsongas about an additional $225,000 in her campaign account.

Massachusetts has had an all-Democratic congressional delegation since 1996, but Republican are hopeful that a special election in one of the state's more conservative districts (albeit, still solidly Democratic) can break the trend.

The only public polling conducted in this race -- by automated pollster SurveyUSA between September 7-9 -- showed Ogonowski trailing Tsongas, 51 to 41 percent. The poll showed Ogonowski leading Tsongas among independents and senior citizens.

According to her FEC report, the Tsongas campaign also spent over $20,000 to commission a poll in mid-September. The campaign has not publicly released the results, suggesting that the SurveyUSA numbers are comparable to their own.