July 7, 2011

Challengers' resources pale next to Snowe's

Maine's three-term senator easily outpaces two tea party-affiliated candidates in fundraising.

By Jonathan Riskind jriskind@mainetoday.com
Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON — Scott D'Amboise, a Republican primary challenger to three-term U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, raised $117,394 during this year's second quarter, according to his campaign.

Olympia Snowe
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U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe


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Andrew Ian Dodge

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Snowe, facing tea party-affiliated challengers D'Amboise of Lisbon Falls and Andrew Ian Dodge of Harpswell, took in just over $1 million during the second quarter and had more than $2.74 million on hand as of June 30, according to her campaign. In the first quarter of the year, Snowe raised more than $877,000.

The deadline for campaign finance reports is July 15, but it is typical for campaigns to release bottom-line numbers early. Dodge has not yet released any fundraising totals.

D'Amboise, who ran against Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in 2006, is a health care technician and the owner of a commercial cleaning business. Dodge is a freelance writer.

Two Maine Democrats, state Rep. Jon Hinck of Portland and former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap of Old Town, said this month that they are contemplating running against Snowe in 2012.

D'Amboise's campaign says his funding, the first of his campaign, came from nearly 3,000 individual contributions, showing grass-roots conservative support for a campaign against Snowe, who is considered a moderate Republican.

D'Amboise's final report is still being put together, but he will have about $90,000 on hand as of the end of the quarter, his campaign said.

D'Amboise compared his fledgling campaign to last year's gubernatorial bid by Republican Paul LePage, who, backed by tea party supporters, narrowly won a three-way general election with 38 percent of the vote.

"Last year's governor's race demonstrated that millions of dollars cannot overcome the desire of the Republican base to unite behind a conservative candidate," D'Amboise said in a statement Wednesday. Conservatives in Maine and elsewhere will join to defeat Snowe's "leftist agenda," he said.

LePage has endorsed Snowe's bid for a fourth term. He had a long personal relationship with her late first husband, Peter Snowe.

Sharon Miller, a Snowe campaign spokeswoman, said the Snowe campaign is "really thrilled with our numbers. We are happy with the support we have from Maine Republicans. We are building a tremendous grass-roots organization."

Independent analysts have been skeptical about the ability of D'Amboise and Dodge to unseat Snowe. The nonpartisan Washington-based Cook Political Report rates Snowe as "likely" to win re-election.

Still, that means Snowe potentially is vulnerable, it says.

"These seats are not considered competitive at this point but have the potential to become engaged," Cook says of the prospects of incumbents in the "likely" category.

Jennifer Duffy, the Senate editor for the Cook Political Report, said D'Amboise has raised a "respectable" amount of money but his resources pale in comparison with Snowe's.

"He will need significantly more to truly compete with Snowe," Duffy said.

Snowe won her last race, in 2006, with 74 percent of the vote. She has never had a primary challenger in her three U.S. Senate races or any of her U.S. House races.

In an interview earlier this year, Snowe said she is "always worried about any election" and doesn't "blame people for being angry and feeling disconnected from Washington," but her goal is simply to "make sure people understand who I am. I have been there and I have been fighting" for Maine interests.

Some observers have said Snowe has charted a more conservative course this year in the face of a conservative challenge. Snowe says she always has been fiscally conservative.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at:



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Scott D'Amboise


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