Framingham campaign contributions reflect a new city’s lingering divide

After four failed tries and 104 years, Framingham voted to become a city in April. The newly written city charter barely squeaked by in a town referendum, winning by 112 votes — a clear indication of a community nearly evenly divided over its path forward.

In the seven months since, divisions in the Boston suburb of 70,000 haven’t healed. Days before the new city’s first mayoral elections, the community seems to be just as divided — and along similar lines — over who will serve as its first mayor. Many of those who led the charge to make Framingham a city have lined up behind one candidate, while many of those who fought against the new city charter are backing the other.

This divide is especially clear in the campaign finance data, which reveal by far the most expensive election in the town’s history. Many of the donations have come from outside Framingham and from owners and managers of businesses, real estate developers and construction companies.

What this means for Framingham’s future — as it evolves from a town meeting form of government to leadership by a mayor and city council — depends on with whom you talk.


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