AUGUSTA – Independent Eliot Cutler has already raised more than $700,000 for the general election, leading the pack of privately financed candidates in the race for governor.
Cutler’s bank account also triggered additional money for Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, the Democratic nominee who is participating in the state’s Clean Election program.
An early look at the finances of the candidates shows that this is shaping up to be an expensive election, on the heels of a pricey primary in which the 11 candidates spent more than $7.5 million.
The five-member general election field has four privately financed candidates: Cutler; Waterville Mayor Paul LePage, a Republican; and independents Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott. Mitchell is participating in the state’s public finance system.
Here’s how the money is breaking down so far:
• Two days after the election, Cutler filed a report with the ethics commission that shows he has $703,419 in total receipts. He’s given $390,000 of his own money to the campaign, according to the finance reports.
• Mitchell received her initial disbursement of $600,000 from the state last week.
And, once Cutler filed his report, the commission authorized her to spend an additional $89,000, said Paul Lavin, assistant director of the ethics commission. The program allows Mitchell to spend a maximum of $1.2 million on the general election.
• LePage isn’t required to file any more reports for a few weeks, so all we can say is how much he reported as of May 27: He had $275,986 in receipts, but expenditures of only $190,000. He loaned himself $111,000 in the spring.
• Moody reported $500,000 — a loan he made to his campaign back in April.
• Scott reported $2,500 — a contribution he made to start his campaign in February.
OTTEN: ONE LAST PLEDGE
In his campaign commercials, Republican Les Otten — who finished second in the GOP primary — raised his right hand and took a pledge not to raise taxes.
At an event last week designed to show party unity, Otten raised his hand again, but for a different reason.
“I pledge not to support Eliot Cutler,” he said.
He also joked about his second-place finish.
“One of the great honors that is bestowed upon the first runner-up I get the little tiara,” Otten said. “I get to introduce the guy who’s going to wear the big tiara.”
LEPAGE ON SOCIAL ISSUES
During the media scrum last week after LePage’s unity event, he was asked what he’ll do to appeal to moderates who may object to his opposition to abortion and gay marriage and his support for teaching creationism in schools.
Creationism: “Quite frankly, it’s a learning tool for our kids. I think we should teach them everything possible and let them make their own minds up on how they want to live their lives.”
Gay marriage: “Maine people decided, they voted. I will uphold the law.”
Pro-life: “Coming from 18 kids, if I was for pro-choice, I might not be here.”
He then said social issues won’t be the focus of his campaign or administration.
“If we concentrate on social issues as the No. 1 issue this fall, the state of Maine is doomed,” he said. “We have to concentrate on jobs, fiscal responsibility, accountability.”
SCOTT TO MEET FISHERMEN
Scott said he’s meeting today with fishermen in Scarborough to talk about how regulations affect the state’s fishing fleet.
“I’m meeting with, and will focus on, helping to promote fishing for traditional Maine fishermen,” he said.
Legislative candidates have until Tuesday to return any unauthorized portion of state money they received during the primary, according to the ethics commission.
Nine candidates received matching money in the primary and eight of them still owe the state some money.
MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: