Thursday, April 17, 2014
Five of the six Republicans running for Maine’s open U.S. senate seat got a $5,000 campaign boost last month from a Texas-based political PAC, Alamo, according to federal campaign finance reports.
Alamo is the political action committee of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. As chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Cornyn is in charge of getting party members elected to key Senate seats. His contribution of a total of $25,000 to the Maine candidates signals that national Republican leaders haven’t given up on holding onto Olympia Snowe’s senate seat, even with former Gov. Angus King the clear, early frontrunner.
The five who each received $5,000 from Alamo are Rick Bennett, State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, Sen. Debra Plowman, Attorney General William Schneider and Secretary of State Charlie Summers. Scott D’Amboise, a former selectman and Tea Party activist, was the only candidate who didn’t get a check from Cornyn.
It may be that D'Amboise is not taken seriously at the national level or that he's on the naughty list for being the only candidate to challenge Snowe before she dropped out. But D'Amboise also is less needy. He began fundraising months before the others and had raised more than $600,000 before the end of March, far more than all his GOP opponents combined.
OpenSecrets.org put together a cool visual of the early campaign money chase in Maine.
The Alamo money also has raised some questions about Bruce Poliquin’s finances.
Poliquin did not file a campaign finance report for the period ending March 31. He said last week he wasn’t filing because he did not exceed the threshold, meaning he didn’t raise or spend more than $5,000 in the reporting period.
That would mean either the Alamo contribution was the only one he received, which is hard to imagine for one of the higher-profile candidates in the race, or it arrived after March 31. The FEC website says Poliquin's check was disbursed March 6, though it doesn't say when the candidate received it.
A Poliquin spokesman said today the Alamo check arrived after the reporting period ended.
The explanation may lie in campaign strategy. Poliquin said he gathered pledges and commitments for funds in March, but didn’t have the money in hand until April. He also said he was keeping all details about his fundraising to himself.
Candidates sometimes delay contributions into the next reporting period so opponents don’t see how much they are raising and from what sources.
Poliquin clearly isn’t pretending he’s got no money. He used a lot of his own money when running for governor in 2010 and he is known to have the biggest personal checkbook in the Republican primary. He also boasted in a recent news release that he will be the best-funded candidate in the race.
Sen. Plowman also does not have a finance report posted on the Federal Election Commission website, although it should be posted soon. Plowman said she did mail in her report, which included the Alamo filing and some smaller donations.
Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.
Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @stevemistler
Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell
Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH
Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @randybillings
Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc
Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME