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Monday October 24, 2011 | 01:36 PM

GOP Senate candidate Scott D’Amboise of Lisbon Falls, a Tea Party-affiliated Republican primary challenge to three-term Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, isn’t getting much thus far in the way of campaign contributions from Mainers.

D’Amboise raised nearly $223,000 during the third quarter, listing nearly 140 separation donations in the report he filed with the Federal Election Commission. But he received just three separate donations from two different Mainers totaling $700, the largest a $500 contribution in July from Mark David Willis of Dennysville.

In all, D’Amboise, who is one of two Tea Party-affiliated challengers to Snowe attacking the Maine Republican from the right, has raised about $364,000 this year. But few Mainers gave to him in the second quarter, either - five out 49 donations listed in that report.

Tyler Harber, a D’Amboise campaign consultant, said the health care technician and small business owner will be trying to generate more contributions from Mainers.

“Our focus has been on developing a national fundraising operation before a statewide operation, as in-state money is usually ‘late’ to a challenger,” said Harber via email. “We have secured a finance consultant and finance director who will focus on in-state fundraising. It's not unusual to see national money come in before state money in a race like this. We're not worried. We'll have enough to execute our plan.”

Mainer Willis, an applications tech specialist and a small farmer, said he gave D’Amboise a $500 contribution in July after Snowe and GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine voted for a bill overhauling federal food safety regulations. The bill passed 73-25, but Willis said he and other small farmers believed it would provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration too much control over how small farms are run and burden small farmers with too much paperwork and regulations.

D’Amboise was outspoken in speaking out against the bill, Willis said in a phone interview, adding that he agrees with D’Ambois on other issues as well.

“Scott has progressed in his campaign from what we can tell,” Willis said. “That is why we are putting our money where our beliefs are.”

Another GOP challenger to Snowe, Andrew Ian Dodge, a free-lance writer from Harpswell, hasn’t raised enough money yet to file a campaign finance report.

Snowe raises a lot of money from around the country and from the political action committees of big companies and associations.

Snowe had more than $3.2 million on hand as of Sept. 30 after taking in more than $792,000 during the third quarter, according to her campaign report.

According to lists of fundraisers and statistics about in-state versus out-of-state contributions compiled and kept by the non-partisan, non-profit Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics, Snowe raises much of her dollars from out-of-state, as well.

During the 2006 campaign, Snowe received 66 percent of her itemized contributions, totaling $1.2 million, from individuals from out-of-state, with the Washington, D.C., New York and Boston areas providing the largest chunks, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Snowe got 34 percent, or about $631,000 from Mainers during that campaign, an election where Snowe won a third-term with 74 percent of the vote.

In the 2012 cycle, with data compiled only through the first few months the year by the center’s site, Snowe has gotten 79 percent of itemized individual contributions from out of state, about $937,000 compared to about $245,000 from in-state.

But Snowe’s campaign said that in the third quarter, of 796 individuals who contributed, 468 are Mainers.

In total during the third quarter, Snowe collected about $419,000 from individuals, most of that sum itemized contributions of more than $200. Snowe also got about $275,000 from political action committees and about $97,000 from two GOP joint fundraising committees.

(Updated as of 3:50 p.m.: The Snow campaign said that the 468 Maine donors made 490 contributions totaling $149,295. That means that people from outside Maine gave, on average, larger individual contributions to Snowe's campaign during the third quarter.)

The roundup of fundraisers compiled by the Sunlight Foundation  and kept on the center’s site as well, shows that so far this year, Snowe has held or has planned at least 18 fundraisers, most of them in Washington and hosted by prominent D.C. lobbyists or associations. The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation relies on lobbyists and others to pass along fundraising invites to help catalogue the fundraisers being held on behalf of various members of Congress.

In addition to the announced GOP primary challenges, two Democrats appear on the verge of running against Snowe: state Rep. Jon Hinck of Portland and former Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap of Old Town.



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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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