Democratic nominee Janet Mills and the second-place finisher in the hard-fought June 12 gubernatorial primary, Adam Cote, successfully uploaded their campaign contribution and spending reports on Wednesday afternoon after encountering problems Tuesday night.

The Maine Democratic State Committee’s report had yet to be filed Wednesday evening because of the same computer glitch related to a new Maine Ethics Commission website.

Filed reports show a tight money race between Mills, Republican Shawn Moody and independent Terry Hayes.

Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Ethics Commission that administers and enforces the state’s campaign finance laws, said the computer problem stemmed from the recent changeover to a new website and electronic-filing system. Commission staff were working with the campaigns on the issue Wednesday.

“It is not the filers’ fault, so we are committed to being understanding” about the missed deadline, Wayne said. Normally, campaigns that file late reports can face financial penalties that accrue daily, although the commission has broad discretion to adjust or waive penalties.

The Mills campaign said some required details of its reports – such as the occupation of contributors – were also omitted in the information submitted Wednesday but that the campaign will file an amended report to correct any omissions.


“While we were disappointed to have encountered an issue, we are grateful to the Maine Ethics Commission for recognizing that it was a technical problem beyond our control and for working with us in good-faith to see the report was filed in accordance with all requirements – as we will always do,” spokesman Scott Ogden said in a statement.

The ethics commission recently launched a new, more user-friendly website that allows visitors to easily view campaign contributions and expenditures as well as who gave or received money. The site also allows visitors to compare some races – such as the gubernatorial race – “at a glance” based on the most recent filings.

Wayne said the Mills and Cote campaigns along with the Maine Democratic State Committee all used an outside firm that compiled campaign finance data in large files. But a software compatibility issue prevented those electronic filings from being uploaded during the first major test of the new system Tuesday.

The final numbers show Mills, Moody and Hayes – who is the only candidate utilizing Maine’s public campaign finance system – are closely matched in total fundraising so far.

Mills, Maine’s attorney general, reported raising $1,052,606 for her campaign through July 17 and ended the period with $206,547 still in the bank. Moody, who runs a successful chain of autobody repair shops, trailed just behind Mills in total fundraising with $1,038,178 in contributions but reported $319,309 in “cash on hand.” Just over $500,000 of Moody’s contributions came from himself.

Hayes, the Maine state treasurer, reported $982,759 in total contributions and had $476,596 in “cash on hand” as of July 17. Hayes has received roughly $891,000 in Clean Elections funding to date and is eligible for even more but has yet to receive it because of a political fight between Democrats, House Republicans and Gov. Paul LePage over the public campaign financing system.


The fourth candidate in the race, economic development consultant Alan Caron, reported $532,928 in total contributions, including $485,000 loaned to the campaign by himself or his wife. Caron ended the reporting period with $1,727 in available cash.

Tuesday’s filings show that Cote, who finished second behind Mills following the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting to decide a statewide election, was also running a well-financed campaign. Cote, a veteran and attorney from Sanford, reported raising and spending more than $1 million during his primary bid.

Wayne said that, overall, the new website and system is working well but staff still need to resolve a few inevitable hitches, particularly when importing older data.

“I think there are definite advantages to members of the public who are trying to understand how campaigns are being funded,” Wayne said. “But some of the older data . . . still needs massaging so there is more to come in the coming weeks.”

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