BOSTON (AP)- Joseph Kennedy III is relying in part on contributions from out-of-state donors and political action committees to help him restore the Kennedy name to Congress.
As of mid-August, the Massachusetts Democrat and son of former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II had collected more than $3 million for the open 4th congressional seat currently held by Democratic congressman Barney Frank, who is not seeking re-election.
That's more than four times as much as all the money raised by all of his competitors in both parties.
It's also more than any other candidate for the U.S. House from Massachusetts, including the state's eight incumbent representatives, has raised this election cycle.
Of Kennedy's total, nearly $220,000 came from PACs, the vast majority of them located outside of Massachusetts.
And of the $2.4 million in itemized contributions to Kennedy - donations of $200 or more - $1.38 million, or 57 percent, came from out-of-state donors, according to an Associated Press review of campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Committee.
That's compared to the $1 million in itemized donations that came from Kennedy backers inside Massachusetts, about 43 percent.
The totals don't necessarily reflect the number of individual donors. Donations under $200 aren't itemized.
Kennedy campaign officials said nearly half of his individual contributions were for $100 or less and that about 60 percent of all of Kennedy's donors - including small money donors - are from Massachusetts. They also said that only 7 percent of Kennedy's total fundraising haul comes from PACs.
"Joe is grateful for all of the support he has received thus far. His focus has been and will remain in the 4th District, where he has opened five field offices, held nearly 180 public events and signed up over 2,500 volunteers," campaign spokeswoman Emily Browne said.
Among the political action committees donating to Kennedy were those representing ironworkers, firefighters, plumbers, nurses and electrical workers as well as PACS for the John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Raytheon and Ocean Spray Cranberries.
All the other candidates in the race have raised about $732,000 combined.
The leader is Republican Sean Bielat, a businessman and former U.S. Marine, who unsuccessfully challenged Frank two years ago.
Bielat reported having raised more than $476,000 as of Aug. 17, $11,000 from political action committees.
A spokeswoman for Bielat called Kennedy's fundraising totals "an intimidation tool designed to take the focus off of his thin resume and lack of private sector experience."
"All the money in the world can't give Joe Kennedy III the real-world experience that is needed to lead during these tough economic times," said Bielat spokeswoman Adrienne Royer.
Another GOP candidate, former state mental health commissioner Elizabeth Childs, has raised more than $163,000 as of the same filing deadline, $25,000 from PACs.
"Elizabeth has said all along that if the race was about money, then every other candidate should just pack it in now," said Childs campaign spokeswoman Lisa Barstow. "But it's about message and experience and she's got a superior message and the actual track record."
Kennedy's level of fundraising is impressive for a first-time candidate. Of course Kennedy also has all the advantages and liabilities of being heir to the state's most famous political family.
Kennedy is the grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, brother of President John F. Kennedy and Massachusetts' longtime U.S. Senator, Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009.
If Kennedy is successful it would mark the return of a member of the Kennedy family to Congress for the first time since Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island left the U.S. House last year, marking the first time in 63 years no one with the Kennedy name was serving in elected office.
Other candidates in the race include Democrat Rachel Brown who's raised nearly $13,000, none of it from PACs; Democrat Herb Robinson who's raised about $27,900, virtually all of it from himself; and Republican David Steinhof, who's raised about $35,700, including $5,000 from a single PAC and $14,500 from himself.
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