How a Cambridge progressive beat a 24-year incumbent

With progressive endorsements, nimble fundraising, and grassroots appeal, Mike Connolly went from “No Money Mike” to standout representative in 2016.

By Jane St. John

After running a headline-making, fundraising-free Congressional campaign as “No Money Mike” (an Independent) in 2012, Mike Connolly went back into the ring to represent Massachusetts’ 26th Middlesex District in 2016. It was his second time running against 17-year incumbent Tim Toomey, a Democrat who hadn’t lost since 1983.

Having spent the intervening years working on sustainability initiatives and aiding his Cambridge city council, he came to the 2016 primary as a Democrat with a broader progressive platform than his previous single-issue stance, an expanded corps of volunteers, and coveted endorsements from Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, and legendary leftist academic Noam Chomsky. 

Of course, he also had NationBuilder. With a strong foundation for his website, he accepted small donations from his supporters, collecting around $47,000 during the campaign—an edge he needed to bring his progressive message to voters. That message resonated well enough for him to capture the seat from an incumbent who hadn’t lost a race in three decades, bringing a welcome new perspective to Beacon Hill. 

Images courtesy of Mike Connolly for State Representative
Share this story

Scannable call sheets

Customers using NationBuilder to win their election cut hours of manual data entry every day with scannable walk sheets and call sheets.

Case study

Susannah Lee

Susannah Lee and her staff used NationBuilder to find the most likely voters and follow up with them as the election neared. She won her state's House of Representatives in 2014

Trusted by over 9,000 customers in 112 countries

UK Labour Party
Democratic Municipal Officials
Eric Garcetti
Republican State Leadership Committee
NJ Democratic State Committee
Liberal Democrats
Mass GOP
Republican Party of Florida
Les Republicains
PC
Australian Labour
Wildrose

Download the NationBuilder Year in Review 2016