June 10, 2012

Election 2012: Money separates candidates

By Colin Woodard cwoodard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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King received donations from six PACs. Google's PAC gave $5,000. He received $1,000 donations from the PACs of Plum Creek Land Co., Milwaukee-based senior care medical suppliers Direct Supply Inc., and the Council for a Livable World, which promotes "progressive national security policies." Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, a South Carolina law firm, gave $500, as did Politics 180, a Massachusetts PAC supporting non-partisan candidates.

King, who doesn't have to face a primary, had $260,344 in the bank on May 31, more than twice any other candidate, suggesting he will have a formidable lead over his rivals going into the general election campaign. 

BRUCE POLIQUIN – R

$229,214 this period and overall

Bruce Poliquin, the state treasurer, had reported no activity in the first quarter of the year, but ramped his campaign to life in April. He raised $120,209 by May 23, and gave his campaign an additional $109,005.

He relies on large donations, including from Edward Babbit of Avatar Associates in New York and his wife, Susan ($5,000 combined), Portland developer Joe Boulos ($2,500), former Morgan Stanley Co-President Zoe Cruz and her husband, Ernesto, a Credit Suisse investment banker ($5,000 total), and Lawrence Lindsey, a former governor of the Federal Reserve System and economic adviser to former President George W. Bush ($1,000).

Poliquin raised only $9,256, or 4 percent of the total, in small donations. His only PAC donation was from the Alamo PAC of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, which gave $5,000 to Poliquin on April 20. In March, this PAC gave the same amount to every GOP candidate except D'Amboise.

Poliquin spent heavily -- $95,000 -- on advertising and campaign signs and stickers, plus a like amount in other campaign expenditures. He had only $18,928 on hand at the end of May, but as he is independently wealthy, his campaign is not expected to want for resources. 

RICK BENNETT – R

$76,644 this period and $184,303 overall

Former state Senate President Rick Bennett continues to rely on larger donations, having raised just $4,194 in small contributions.

Last quarter, 30 percent of Bennett's contributions came from individuals linked to Robbins, Geller, Rudman and Dowd, the San Diego law firm best known for winning a $7.2 billion class action against Enron. This period he received another $5,500 from the firm's partners, bringing the total from partners and their spouses to $43,500. Bennett's company is in a similar line of work: representing shareholders against corporate boards.

Locally, Bennett received $13,500 from five senior employees at Windham Weaponry, maker of assault rifles; $1,000 each from Central Maine Motors CEO Charlie Gaunce, who served as treasurer for Paul LePage's mayoral campaigns in Waterville, and corporate lobbyist and gubernatorial adviser Ann Robinson of Preti Flaherty, who was co-chair of LePage's transition committee; $200 from Snowe for Senate and $500 from Snowe staffer Brian Whitney.

Bennett has hired several political consultants, including Trevor Bragdon, brother of former Maine Heritage Policy Center director Tarren Bragdon, and Brent Littlefield, who is credited with helping guide the LePage campaign to victory. On May 23, he still had $117,212 on hand, more than any of his GOP rivals. 

MATT DUNLAP – D

$16,619 this period, $98,820 overall

Matt Dunlap still leads the Democrats in overall fundraising, but lagged this past period, mostly due to a reduction in the small donations his campaign had been so successful in attracting. More than any other competitive candidate, his donor pool is dominated by medium-sized donations ($200 to $999) and includes strikingly few large donations.

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