It’s not even August and no one in Portland has officially qualified to be a candidate for City Council, but campaigning – and fundraising – is well underway for the November election.

One potential candidate for an at-large seat, Bree LaCasse, has already raised nearly $20,000 – continuing what appears to be a trend of big money in Portland’s at-large council races.

Meanwhile, a political action committee supporting the $64 million bond to renovate four elementary schools is off to a slow fundraising start.

The reports filed Monday in City Hall are required only of candidates and PACs that had raised or spent more than $500 as of July 1.

LaCasse, a development officer at Community Housing of Maine, formally announced her intention to seek the at-large seat held by veteran Councilor Jill Duson on June 4. According to campaign finance reports filed on July 17, the daughter of the prominent Portland artist Pandora LaCasse had already raised $19,230 and spent nearly $10,000 as of June 30.

Another potential challenger to Duson, Joey Brunelle, a Web developer, is already making campaign finance a central theme of his campaign. Concerned about gentrification, Brunelle has vowed not to take money from real estate developers.

On July 13, Brunelle issued a statement saying he had refunded $2,200 in donations from out-of-state friends and associates, bringing his total to about $5,800 as of June 30, of which he had spent nearly $4,000.

Duson, who is finishing her fifth term on the council, reported raising a little more than $3,400, showing a cash balance of $83 as of June 30.

The early fundraising of LaCasse exceeds the amount raised at this time last year by Councilor Pious Ali, who unseated incumbent Jon Hinck. Through June 30 of last year, Ali had raised over $15,000 toward his pre-election total of $24,000, in what was the city’s most expensive council race in recent history.

In 2014, 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.

Those totals, however are dwarfed by the 2015 mayoral race, during which Mayor Ethan Strimling raised more than $100,000 to unseat Michael Brennan, who raised $49,000.

At-large candidates must get 300 to 500 signatures from people registered to vote in Portland, to appear on the ballot. The deadline to submit nomination papers is 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 28.

Protect Our Neighborhood Schools filed reports to become a political action committee to support the $64 million school bond. The group’s principal officer is Emily Figdor, while LaCasse is listed as a candidate with a significant role in the PAC. Strimling is also listed as having a significant role, as well as being a fundraiser.

The PAC reported raising $1,580, plus a $76 loan from Figdor and $1,024 loan from Progressive Portland, a nonprofit co-founded by her husband, Steven Biel. Both Protect Our Neighborhood Schools and Progressive Portland list their address as 31 Cushman St.

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

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Twitter: randybillings