Politics

February 1

Money gap widens in Maine 2nd District primary races

Both Republican and Democrat financial statements show a growing disparity.

By MICHAEL SHEPHERD Kennebec Journal

Republican Kevin Raye and Democrat Troy Jackson trail their major primary opponents in the money race for a Maine congressional seat, but their campaigns say they’re hitting their goals.

Troy Jackson

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Kevin Raye

Staff file photo by Michael G. Seamans

The two candidates, running to represent Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, were among the last to release updated fundraising data Friday, when financing reports were due to the Federal Election Commission.

Raye, a former Maine Senate president from Perry, reported pulling in more than $100,000 from October through December, giving him more than $190,000 total through 2013 with more than $150,000 in cash on hand.

Jackson, the current Senate majority leader from Allagash, reported getting more than $66,000, giving him nearly $140,000 total with $50,000 available to spend.

POLIQUIN AND CAIN

At year’s end, the candidates still were far behind their chief opponents in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a six-term Democrat who is running for governor.

Republican Bruce Poliquin, a former state treasurer from Oakland, has raised $370,000, with $300,000 on hand, while Democrat Emily Cain, a state senator from Orono, has raised more than $300,000, with $170,000 on hand.

Poliquin’s personal money makes up much of the difference between himself and Raye.

The wealthy businessman has already given his campaign about $100,000. From October to September, Poliquin raised $148,000, of which about $50,000 was his own.

So subtracting personal money, Raye, with nearly $103,000, outraised him in 2013’s last fundraising quarter. Mike Leavitt, a spokesman for Raye’s campaign, said he expects Poliquin to outspend Raye using his personal wealth, “but Kevin will have the resources necessary to win.”

Raye’s campaign said 70 percent of donors are from the district, which Leavitt said is a sign of the candidate’s districtwide support. In 2012 he got 42 percent of votes against Michaud, who outraised him $1.1 million to $700,000.

Poliquin lost high-dollar primaries in 2010 and 2012, for governor and U.S. Senate, respectively. In 2010, he spent $700,000 of his own money to finish sixth behind Gov. Paul LePage in the Republican gubernatorial primary. LePage spent less than $200,000 total.

HITTING GOALS

However, Alan Lindquist, the campaign’s financial consultant, said in a statement that Jackson “is hitting fundraising milestones we anticipated,” and the campaign said more than 90 percent of its money has come from Maine.

Cain released her figures last week, also dropping the results of a recent poll showing her with a wide lead over Jackson among 400 likely primary voters in the district. Jackson’s campaign said the poll showed a wide-open electorate, noting that nearly half of those surveyed were undecided.

Another Democrat, Alden Smith, a former naval officer and current reservist from Sangerville, said in a campaign release Friday that he put his “life savings” of $60,000 into his campaign.

Despite never running for office, he said he wanted “my family, my friends, and my neighbors, to know I am deeply committed to serving them in Congress.”

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 370-7652 or at:

mshepherd@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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