February 7, 2012

President to visit Maine in March

Obama is expected to attend two campaign fundraisers, but neither is likely to be open to the public.

By Jonathan Riskind jriskind@mainetoday.com
Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON — President Obama will visit Maine next month to raise money for his re-election campaign, according to the White House and the Maine Democratic Party.

Barack Obama
click image to enlarge

President Obama

The Associated Press

Obama will attend two fundraisers March 30, most likely in the Portland area, but details are not yet set, said Lizzy Reinholt, spokeswoman for the Maine Democratic Party.

The White House confirmed that the visit will be a campaign stop, not an official White House trip. Reinholt said her understanding is that none of Obama's events will be public, but one of the fundraisers may be open to media coverage.

Obama's re-election campaign had received $534,389 from Maine contributors as of Dec. 31, according to figures compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign-finance research organization in Washington.

Obama raises much more money from more populated states. Massachusetts donors, for instance, have given his campaign more than $3.5 million to date. New York donors have given more than $7.4 million.

The Obama campaign had taken in more than $125 million overall as of Dec. 31, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama isn't coming to Maine just to raise money, said Michael Cuzzi, a political and communications consultant in Portland who was the 2008 deputy state director for Obama's New Hampshire primary campaign.

"It's a money trip, but any time the president comes to Maine or any other state, it is an opportunity for him to get his message out and speak directly with Mainers," said Cuzzi, a volunteer on the 2012 Obama campaign.

Cuzzi said he doesn't know what is planned for the Maine fundraisers. But typically, one event is geared toward "small-dollar, grass-roots donors, giving regular people, working-class Mainers, the opportunity to hear directly from the president," he said.

Obama won Maine in 2008 with 58 percent of the vote, to Republican John McCain's 40 percent.

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster said Obama might have fundraising success in Maine, but that doesn't mean he will capture the state again in November.

"He will raise money here, and I understand why he is coming here to raise money," Webster said Monday. "But I don't think this is the same state it was before. Maine is not left of center, and I think that his chances are diminished here compared with four years ago. I believe we can win Maine this time."

First lady Michelle Obama was in Maine in September, also to raise 2012 campaign cash. She was the featured attraction at fundraisers at a home in Cape Elizabeth and at the Ocean Gateway terminal in Portland.

The fundraiser in Cape Elizabeth was hosted by Karen Harris and Bonnie Porta, co-chairs of the Obama for ME Finance Committee, and was held at Porta's home. Porta is married to Robert C.S. "Bobby" Monks, a real estate developer and minority owner of MaineToday Media, which publishes The Portland Press Herald.

The president was last in Maine in July 2010 when he and his family vacationed on Mount Desert Island.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at: jriskind@mainetoday.com

Twitter: Twitter.com/MaineTodayDC

 

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