November 3, 2012

Sky's the limit in the battle for Legislature

Outside groups are spending unprecedented amounts to gain a say in future policy decisions.

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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$1.5 MILLION: Third-party spending on Maine legislative races in 2010.

$3.47 MILLION: Third-party spending on Maine legislative races in 2012.

$438,697: Third-party spending on state Senate District 32, the most targeted race in 2012.

$23,513: Two-year legislative stipend for Republican incumbent Nichi Farnham or Democratic challenger Geoffrey Gratwick if elected.

18.6: Lawmaker stipend that could be paid with third-party spending in District 32.

63.8: Lawmaker stipend that could be paid with 2010 third-party spending.

147.5: Lawmaker stipend that could be paid with 2012 third-party spending.

186: Lawmakers in the Maine Legislature.

65: Days since the first third-party expenditure.

$53,125: Average daily expenditure since Aug. 30.

3: Spending days remaining before the election.

$265,625: Potential additional third-party expenditures based on daily average.

$3.67 MILLION: Potential third-party spending by Election Day by current pace.

In District 15, Republican Sen. Lois Snowe-Mello and Democratic challenger John Cleveland have seen over $220,000 in mailers and political ads from outside groups.

In Knox County, the District 22 senate race has also cracked the top 5 in outside spending. Groups have spent over $183,400 on the race between incumbent Republican Sen. Chris Rector and Democrat Edward Mazurek.

Spending has targeted senate races in District 25 between Republican incumbent Thomas Martin and Democrat Colleen Lachowicz ($182,700); District 20 between incumbent Democrat Chris Johnson and Republican Les Fossel ($169,000); and District 11 between independent incumbent Dick Woodbury and Republican Chris Tyll ($111,400).

The battle for the House of Representatives is also setting spending records.

Over $1.3 million has been spent by outside groups, which is close to the total spent on all legislative races in 2010.

Dozens of House races are in play.

More than 10 have seen over $30,000 in PAC spending. In 2010, only two races exceeded $10,000.

Two races stand out.

PACs have spent nearly $70,000 on the District 5 race in Presque Isle between Republican incumbent Michael Willette and Democrat Robert Saucier.

More than $60,500 has been spent in District 128 in Scarborough between Republican Heather Sirocki and Jean-Marie Caterina.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

Twitter: stevemistler

The sidebar in this story has been clarified to reflect that legislators receive a two-year stipend.

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