Challenger Pious Ali holds a significant fundraising advantage over incumbent Jon Hinck heading into the final week of campaigning for an at-large seat on the Portland City Council.

Ali, an immigrant from Ghana who currently serves on the Board of Education, has raised over $24,000 in his bid to unseat Hinck, a former state legislator who is finishing his first term on the council, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday. As of Oct. 25, Ali had more than $14,000 remaining to spend on ads, campaign literature and efforts to turn out the vote.

Hinck, meanwhile, had raised roughly $4,000 by Oct. 25, most of which remained from his 2014 council campaign. He had $639 in cash on hand heading into the final days.

The third candidate in the race, Matthew Coffey, a homeless Libertarian, raised more than $900.

The contest has shaped up to be the most-watched local election in Portland – primarily because of how it came about.

Hinck originally planned to run for the Maine Senate, which allowed Ali to get an early start to his campaign and garner a slew of early endorsements. However, Hinck failed to formally submit his nomination papers for the Senate seat, prompting him to seek re-election to the council.

Ali, who could become the first African-born Muslim elected to the City Council in Portland, had raised over $15,000 as of July with the help of Act Blue, a national fundraising platform for progressive candidates. Ali’s contributions have come from throughout the United States, including Texas and California. Since July, however, Ali’s fundraising has been down a bit. From July 1 to Oct. 25, he raised $9,000.

Ali’s fundraising has topped other recent council races.

Last year, two candidates raised more than $15,000. Spencer Thibodeau raised $15,776 in his successful bid for the District 2 seat, representing the West End. And Brandon Mazer raised $15,336 in his unsuccessful bid for the District 1 seat, representing the East End, now held by Belinda Ray, who raised $4,300.

In 2012, political newcomer Wells Lyons raised $14,000 in an unsuccessful bid to unseat longtime at large councilor Nicholas Mavodones.

In District 3, covering the neighborhoods south of Brighton Avenue and west of St. John Street, incumbent City Councilor Edward Suslovic has not raised or spent any money in his re-election bid against challenger Brian Batson, a 25-year-old registered nurse who moved to Portland about a year ago.

Through Oct. 25, Batson had raised $6,355, most of which came from a personal loan of $4,500. Most of that money appears to be going toward mailings, with $1,250 being spent on postage, $1,800 on mailings and under $1,000 on cards.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

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