Poliquin, Cain and Pingree post top fundraising totals


Maine democrats and republicans

Campaign finance reports became available for Maine’s congressional candidates on Tuesday. Here are the highlights.

Blaine Richardson, running for the GOP nomination in the Second Congressional District for his second time, raised $1,162.48 from July 1 to to Sept. 30 for a campaign total of $2,312.48, most of which has already been spent.

Richardson’s campaign expected to raise less than the other GOP candidates and is counting on a rural grass roots network to keep him in contention. It will be extremely difficult for him to keep up with the other candidates in terms of ad buys, but his connection with Maine’s veterans is something money can’t buy. It’d tempting to count him out, but his challengers will do so at their own peril.

Kevin Raye, who is seeking the GOP nomination for the third time, raised $90,025 from July 1 to Sept. 30. His campaign reports $85,349.61 at the close of the reporting period.

Some key donations of note: Ralph E. Leonard, owner of Central Equipment, gave $1,000; Greg L. Lovely, a big time businessman from Newport, gave $500; former Maine Gov. John R. McKernan, Jr. gave $2,500; Les Otten, former GOP candidate for governor, gave $2,600; Republican Majority for Choice gave $2,000; and Olympia’s List, a super PAC formed by former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, gave him $5,000.

The donations from McKernan and Snowe were predictable given his close connection with the former senator, but grabbing some major Republican businessmen is a win for Raye. Much of Raye’s funding was raised in his native Washington County, so his challenge for the next couple of months will be finding some fruit that is not low hanging. The large donation from a pro-abortion rights super PAC will do little to help him court conservatives in rural Maine. (Update: The Raye for Congress campaign points out that Raye was only actively fundraising for 17 days.) 

Bruce Poliquin was the top fundraiser for both Republicans and Democrats, pulling in $221,941.86 from July 1 to Sept. 30, the vast majority of which he reported as cash on hand. Even when accounting for the $51,806.86 Poliquin donated to his campaign, he still raised more than any other candidate and nearly double Raye’s total.

Poliquin was expected to be the top fundraiser in the race, but his total after 36 days on the trail is impressive. As noted in an earlier Maine Wire piece, Poliquin stole from Raye a big time Republican donor in the form of his campaign treasurer, Tim Varney. All told, the Varney family gave Poliquin $16,600, with six members giving the max contribution.

On the Democratic side, State Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) raised $71,558 and finished with $45,426 cash on hand, according to a campaign press release. According to his campaign, 92 percent of donations came from within Maine and 41 percent came from the Second Congressional District. Some other key donations include: Just $360 from his pal in the Legislature, Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland); $1,000 from big time Augusta lobbyist Severin Beliveau; $5,000 from the ironworkers’ union; and several other smaller donations from lobbying firms in the state.

State Sen. Emily Cain (D-Penobscot) raised $75,561.18 from July 1 to Sept. 30 for a campaign total of $143,211.18. She’s already spent quite a bit of money and reports a cash on hand total of $97,008.16.

Cain declared earlier than many of the GOP candidates and has thus had a longer time to raise money. Ethan Strimling’s predictions for her fundraising were pretty accurate, although he overestimated the financial impact of EMILY’s list, a donation funnel for candidates who support abortion. The list came up with less than $8000.

Some other key donations to Cain: $360 from Alfond; $250 from Jeff Austin, top lobbyist for the Maine Hospitals Association; Lisa Gorman, husband of L.L. Bean owner Leon Gorman, gave $500; Karen Mills, former Obama administration member and wife of Bowdoin College president Barry Mills, gave $1,000; the Quirk family chipped in $1,500; and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rosa Scaracelli gave her $1,000.

Most importantly for Cain, S. Donald Sussman, husband of Rep. Chellie Pingree, maxed out to her campaign with a donation of $2,600. This is helpful not only because it’s good money that will likely be followed with more, but also because Sussman owns the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and the Waterville Morning Sentinel. These papers will have a tough time being critical of Sussman’s preferred candidate, as has been seen in the past.

Speaking of which: In the First Congressional District, Rep. Chellie Pingree raised $45,131.72 from July 1 to Sept. 30 for an election cycle total of $102,659.70. Combined with her war chest, she has a total of $207,317.54 to spend in a campaign where no viable challenger has emerged.

Steve Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here