Campaign finance reports filed this week give a sense of the support that Maine’s gubernatorial candidates have and where they are getting their money.

Republican Paul LePage raised $179,077 and lent his campaign $70,000 from May 26 to July 13. He reported a cash balance of $260,176.

Eliot Cutler, an independent candidate, raised $134,910 during the same period and lent his campaign $175,000, for total receipts of $309,910. His cash balance at the end of the period was $66,686.

Democrat Elizabeth “Libby” Mitchell is a publicly funded candidate; she has received $690,000 from the state for the general election and has $640,000 in cash on hand.

Independent candidate Shawn Moody of Gorham has loaned his campaign $500,000 and had cash and in-kind contributions of $4,725 for the period. And independent candidate Kevin Scott raised $7,925 for the period.

LePage, in particular, saw sizable numbers of contributors.

He reported about 500 contributions of $50 or more, with some duplicates. About 60 of those contributions came from businesses or political groups, such as county Republican committees. And 17 of them came from out of state.

According to the state reports, 138 contributors gave LePage the maximum donation of $750.

Cutler had about 247 contributions of $50 or more, with some duplicates. Five came from businesses, 45 gave the maximun of $750 and 70 were from out of state.

Mark Brewer, a political scientist at the University of Maine, said that where the money comes from and how much is given doesn’t matter much for the mechanics of the campaign — “as long as you’ve got the money to do what you need to do.”

“On the other hand, in terms of how people perceive a campaign, it can matter a great deal,” he said.

A campaign can make political hay out of an opponent getting money “from away” in a state like Maine, said Brewer.

LePage’s donations show maximum contributions from two of his opponents in the Republican primary, Bill Beardsley and Bruce Poliquin. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s “Snowe for Senate” fund gave $750, as did former Gov. John McKernan Jr., Snowe’s husband.

And the Dirigo Political Action Committee out of Virginia, affiliated with Sen. Susan Collins, gave LePage $750.

Support for LePage from Republican leadership, and from traditional business sources, is a good sign for the candidate, said Brewer. There had been questions about whether business sources would line up behind LePage, he said.

Anthony Corrado Jr., a professor of government at Colby College, said neither LePage nor Cutler has a well-established fundraising base. Because of that, they’re relying on personal contacts and some grass-roots fundraising. And, he said, the money being raised isn’t huge.

“It hasn’t been a great year for anyone in terms of fundraising,” said Corrado, “which is probably a signal of the tough economic environment in which these candidates are trying to raise money.”

Corrado foresees a heavy emphasis in the next six weeks or so on fundraising for media buys in the last 10 weeks of the campaign.

Both Corrado and Brewer expect to see national groups getting involved in third-party spending on the gubernatorial campaigns.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of money coming in for both LePage and Mitchell,” said Brewer. “The one person that puts in a difficult spot, of course, is Eliot Cutler.”

Cutler doesn’t have the backing of a national political party.

The Republican National Committee said in a release Tuesday that it plans to provide “funding and resources to augment the in-state GOP campaign structure (and) support Republican candidates “

Carrado said a recent poll that showed LePage ahead of his competition will likely catch the attention of the Republican Governors Association, which may fund commercials in Maine in attempts to put a Republican in the Blaine House.

With Mitchell running a publicly funded campaign, Democrats in Maine can’t contribute to her financially at this point. Corrado said that gives Democrats an opportunity to donate to party groups instead, which could support Mitchell’s campaign.

“You can’t give any significant amount to Mitchell’s campaign directly, but there’s plenty of places you can give it and be relatively confident it’ll get there,” said Brewer.

Scott’s reports show he has raised $50 or more from nine contributors.

Moody announced this week that he has just started his fundraising. He listed 11 contributions from sources, all but two of them in Maine.

“In his case, he’s got the chicken-and-egg problem,” said Corrado. “He needs to rely on self-fundraising to become better known, show he’ll be competitive, if he’s to do better raising money.”

Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

[email protected]