Friday, April 18, 2014
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Fundraising for Gov. Paul LePage, left, during the last reporting period was hindered by restrictions that prohibit him from receiving donations from corporations that deploy lobbyists during the legislative session. Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, center, and independent Eliot Cutler, right, who are competing for some of the same donors, posted significant totals in semi-annual reports filed Monday.
Federal law allows Michaud's congressional committee to donate to other state and federal campaigns, including the Maine Democratic Party, which can use the funds to support the Democrat's gubernatorial bid.
Also, Michaud's "Mill to the Hill" congressional leadership political action committee has directed $3,000 to his gubernatorial campaign.
Michaud said in a prepared statement that he's drawing support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.
IN AND OUT OF STATE
Cutler's campaign said 47 percent of his money came after Michaud announced that he was exploring a run for governor and began fundraising. About 433 of Cutler's donations came from Maine residents, while about 210 came from out of state, including more than 50 from residents with Washington, D.C., addresses.
Cutler, a Bangor native, worked for the late Democratic Sen. Edmund Muskie before serving under President Jimmy Carter. He ran the Beijing office of the Washington, D.C., law firm Akin Gump, a prolific lobbying organization that spent more than $820,000 during the last federal election.
Cutler went to Washington in May for a fundraiser hosted by about 20 former Carter administration officials, lobbyists and Democratic Party officials. Several of the hosts named in a leaked invitation were from Akin Gump.
Cutler's campaign finance report showed 10 donations from Akin Gump partners or associates totaling $8,350.
His campaign finance report shows $3,000 from Tony and Heather Podesta from the influential D.C. lobbying firm The Podesta Group.
Terry Straub, a former lobbyist for U.S. Steel, also donated to Cutler. Straub served under Carter as an assistant in education affairs.
Cutler drew some notable Maine donors, as well, including a former chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, Harold Pachios ($1,500), and Pachios' wife, Claudia ($1,500).
Daniel Zilkha, president of Sabre Yachts, donated $1,500, as did Jack Parker, president of Reed & Reed Inc. of Woolwich, a contracting company that's involved in energy projects and wind development throughout New England.
SOURCES AND SIZES PLAYED UP
The Cutler and Michaud campaigns played up the sources and sizes of their donations. Michaud's camp noted that its average contribution was $233, and that 709 of the contributions were for $50 or less, while Cutler said support was coming from inside and outside of Maine.
All told, Cutler raised more than $241,000 from Maine donors and $190,000 from out-of state donors. Michaud raised $262,000 from Maine donors and $51,100 from out-of-state donors.
Cutler noted that his Republican and Democratic opponents can raise more money than he can.
Maine election law allows candidates to accept as much as $1,500 per election. For party candidates, that means $1,500 for the primary and $1,500 for the general election. Because Cutler is running as an independent, he will not have a primary so he cannot solicit more than $1,500 per donor.
The contributions are for separate elections, but there is no mechanism requiring party candidates to return money not spent for the primary.
Ted O'Meara, Cutler's campaign spokesman, said Michaud would have about $70,000 less if he couldn't collect for the primary and the general election.
Former independent U.S. Senate candidate Steve Woods is running as a Democrat in the 2014 governor's race. Woods reported no contributions to his campaign, but a $50,000 contribution of his own, according to The Associated Press.
Independent Lee Schultheis of Freeport showed $5,000 through Monday, all of it from him and his family.
Green Independent David Slagger showed that he raised $400.
Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:
This story was modified July 17 to clarify Robert C.S. Monks' relationshipo with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.