U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District has passed the $1 million fundraising mark in his 2016 re-election bid, with the Republican carrying $700,000 more on his books than Democratic challenger Emily Cain.

Based on the numbers released Tuesday, both candidates are outpacing their fundraising totals from the 2014 cycle, when Poliquin beat Cain in a high-profile race. That contest was the most expensive U.S. House race in Maine’s history, drawing $3.7 million in campaign spending and $3 million more from outside groups. Democrats, who held the seat for 20 years before Poliquin’s win, have called the 2016 race a key pickup opportunity.

But Poliquin, of Oakland, has considerable fundraising momentum. He raised $379,000 in the second quarter of 2015, his campaign said in a statement, bringing his total raised above $1.1 million, with nearly $950,000 in his coffers. Both campaigns haven’t released their filings, which contain details about donors and aren’t due to the Federal Election Commission until Wednesday.

That adds to a hefty total for Poliquin in the first three months of 2015, when he raised $700,000. Much of that can be attributed to Poliquin’s role on the House Financial Services Committee, which regulates real estate, banks and other sectors. Then he raised $133,000 in the first quarter from industry political action committees alone.

In the second quarter, Poliquin adviser Brent Littlefield said the campaign raised 56 percent of money from individuals, with most of the rest of the money coming from PACs.

“Although we have a long way to go, I’m pleased with the support my first re-election is receiving from citizens who support my efforts to protect jobs, grow Maine’s economy, and control government spending,” Poliquin said in a statement.

Cain, a former state senator from Orono, has lagged far behind, moneywise, since launching her 2016 campaign in March. She raised $152,000 from April through June, bringing her total to $288,000, with nearly $250,000 on hand.

She could face a primary challenge from Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci, a lawyer and the brother of former Gov. John Baldacci who has said he’ll announce this month whether he’ll run. He declined to comment Tuesday on the fundraising totals.

Cain spokeswoman Sarah Russell noted that the Cain campaign has raised twice the amount it had through six months in 2013, which it billed as a sign of momentum.

“I am honored by the groundswell of support from people and communities across the great state of Maine,” Cain said in a statement.

 


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