AUBURN – Republican state senate candidate Eric Brakey announced Tuesday that his campaign has raised more than $21,000 in his bid to replace incumbent Sen. John Cleveland (D-Androscoggin).
Brakey, the former chair of the libertarian Defense of Liberty PAC, is running for Senate District 20, which, following the last round of redistricting, includes Auburn, New Glouscester, Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls.
According to the campaign, Brakey’s 2013 fundraising total is a record-breaker: “Ten months ahead of the 2014 election, the Brakey Campaign has shattered all previous fundraising records for a Maine State Senate campaign at this point in an election cycle,” Brakey campaign chair Lois Snowe-Mello said in a press release.
The previous record was held by former legislator Joseph Bruno, who raised $12,775.00 in 2003 for his State Senate campaign, the campaign said.
Brakey has been a regular presence in the State House during the 126th Legislature, offering a spirited libertarian perspective to not-always-friendly Democratic majorities. Outside of politics, Brakey serves on the New Gloucester Land Management Planning Committee and works for his family business, Brakey Energy.
In an interview with The Maine Wire, Brakey said his top priority if elected would be cutting wasteful spending and reforming Maine’s welfare system.
“We’re saddling future generations with debt,” he said. “One of the biggest contributors to that is our out-of-control welfare system.”
“One of my goals will be to enact welfare reform,” said Brakey. “But the only problem my opponent sees with our welfare system is that it’s not big enough.”
Sen. Cleveland has yet to file to run for reelection, but Brakey is counting on it. And if the contest shapes up the way he expects it to, Brakey will need ever dollar of his record-breaking fundraising.
Attempts to contact Cleveland for this story were unsuccessful.
In 2012, Cleveland was backed by nearly every Democratic power broker, from S. Donald Sussman and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, to lobbyist bigwig Severin Beliveau and Bonnie Porta.
Brakey said he’s not concerned about Cleveland’s big money backers, adding that campaign finance records will let the people in his district choose whether they want a candidate backed by lobbyists and large donors.
“Our donations have come from a broad grassroots network and their energized to go door-to-door,” he said. “That’s something Sussman’s money can’t buy.”