Portland mayoral candidate Ethan Strimling has raised over $100,000 for his campaign, more than double his closest rival.

According to campaign finance reports filed with the city late Friday afternoon, Strimling collected $100,424 in contributions for his mayoral bid through Oct. 20 and ended the period with nearly $45,000 in cash on hand.

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, meanwhile, reported $48,790 in contributions to his re-election campaign and had just shy of $18,000 in available cash as of Oct. 20. A third candidate in the race, Thomas MacMillan, reported $2,881 in contributions and $1,058 in cash on hand.

The robust fundraising reflects the intense competition and financial interests in the Portland mayor’s office, a position that until 2011 was filled by someone selected by other members of the Portland City Council. While there is still considerable debate about the mayor’s role four years after the city switched to a popularly elected mayor, spending in both the 2011 and 2015 campaigns will far exceed the six-figure mark. By contrast, spending on City Council races is often in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, not hundreds of thousands.

“We are thrilled to report a broad range of financial support – from firefighters to teachers, labor groups to small business owners, a diverse group of contributors have coalesced around Ethan and his proven ability to bring people together to achieve a collective vision,” Stephanie Clifford, Strimling’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

The Brennan campaign said they were pleased with the fundraising to date.


“We are thrilled with the support we have received from folks from all over Portland,” said Marc Malon, Brennan’s spokesman. “We are confident that we are raising the money we need to execute the rest of our plan.”

Both Strimling and Brennan have received substantial sums from people living outside of Portland, a fact that likely reflects both the nature of campaigns today and the economic and political importance of Maine’s largest city.

Approximately 58.5 percent of Brennan’s 205 itemized cash contributions came from Portland residents, according to a tally of Friday’s filings. Strimling, by comparison, received 45.3 percent of his itemized cash contributions from Portland residents.

MacMillan reported that eight of his 16 itemized contributions came from Portland residents, however another $1,100 in donations were not itemized because they were donations of $50 or less.

In many ways, the 2015 is a rematch of the two top finishers in the 2011 race, although that campaign featured a much larger field of candidates.

Brennan, a social worker and former Democratic state lawmaker, won the 2011 mayoral race after more than a dozen rounds of ranked-choice voting in which “instant runoffs” were conducted based on voters’ rankings of candidates until one had a majority of the votes cast. Strimling, a Democrat who also served in the Legislature, finished second behind Brennan in the final tally.


This year, Strimling has lined up endorsements from a majority of sitting city councilors and school board members, as well as former mayors and unions for city teachers and firefighters. Strimling’s campaign pointed out Friday that it received a total of 431 contributions, the majority of which were less than $100.

But the 2011 Portland mayoral campaign showed that raising the most money does not automatically translate into a victory. In fact, the Strimling and Brennan campaigns were in similar positions financially at this point four years ago.

In 2011, Strimling reported raising $83,333 by the late-October filing period, compared to $100,424 this year. Brennan, meanwhile, had received $41,075 by this point in the 2011 campaign, compared to just shy of $49,000 this year.

All of the candidates in the current campaign have focused on Brennan’s record, while offering differing interpretations of it.

Brennan has highlighted his work on adopting a higher citywide minimum wage, his defense of Portland’s immigrant community and other city interests in Augusta, the growth of the city’s economy, promoting local foods and work on the city budget.

But Strimling and MacMillan – the leader of Portland’s Green Independent party – have said Brennan has not gotten along with other members of the City Council, which has resulted in lost opportunities and a poor atmosphere. There has been high turnover of top city staff during Brennan’s term, and the two challengers have also said the number of citizen-led referendums in Portland – such as the one that overturned a Brennan-backed sale of part of Congress Square Park – reflected a failed leadership.

Portland residents also will vote on two city referendums on the Nov. 3 ballot: whether to raise the citywide minimum wage to $15 an hour, and whether to adopt a zoning ordinance that could slow or prohibit development that blocks scenic views of the oceans, mountains or public parks.

Both of those campaigns also have drawn considerable attention and cash from organizations inside and outside of Portland. However, not all of the campaign finance reports from the political action committees involved in the campaigns were immediately available Friday night.

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