The money continues to pour into Portland’s mayoral race at a record pace, with incumbent Ethan Strimling leading the pack of four candidates in both money raised and spent.

So far, candidates in the city’s costliest mayoral campaign to date already have raised more than $300,000 and spent more than $173,000 seeking Portland’s top elected municipal office, a full-time position that comes with a $73,000 salary but no executive authority over city operations.

Strimling has raised over $148,000 since November, including more than $45,700 in the most recent reporting period covering July 1 to Sept. 17, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday. That surpasses the $117,000 he raised during his successful 2015 campaign to unseat incumbent Michael Brennan and nearly as much as his two leading challengers combined.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling

“We continue to be proud of the diverse coalition that we’re building,” said Strimling, 51. “We have support from every district and neighborhood in Portland. Our coalition includes seniors, parents, teachers, immigrants, workers and small-business owners, as well as many others.”

City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, a 31-year-old real estate attorney, has raised nearly $90,000 since joining the race on Jan. 9, including $30,000 during the most recent period. And Kate Snyder, a former Portland School Board member and current executive director of an educational nonprofit, has raised over $70,000 since she joined the race on March 26, including more than $25,000 during the most recent period.

“Thanks to the strong support of hundreds of people, we are in a position to get our message out between now and Election Day,” Thibodeau said. “It is clear that voters want an honest broker and a mayor with the experience of bringing people together on the City Council to make our city more affordable, to improve our schools and protect our quality of life.”


The 49-year-old Snyder said she was encouraged by her “strong” fundraising numbers, since she entered the race after Strimling and Thibodeau and hasn’t actively raised money for a campaign since her first school board race in 2007.

“It’s clear to me that Portlanders are ready for a new, but experienced voice in City Hall,” she said. “My campaign is not aligned with any organization, special interest or advocacy group that helps with fundraising. This is a local, community campaign funded by people we know.”

The fourth candidate, 33-year-old restaurant server Travis Curran, had not filed a finance report Wednesday morning and has publicly stated that he is not actively raising money.

Spencer Thibodeau

There was no evidence that any of the candidates paid for an automated poll in recent weeks that reportedly tested messages, mostly against Thibodeau and some about Snyder.

Meanwhile, another player has emerged in the mayoral race. A political action committee calling itself Unite Portland has launched a campaign in opposition to Strimling. The group, led by former City Councilor Dory Waxman, who served as Strimling’s treasurer in 2015, will not be required to file a campaign finance report until quarterly reports are due Oct. 7. Waxman said Wednesday that her group will disclose its donors at that time.

Unite Portland, which describes itself as “concerned Portland citizens” unaligned with any candidate, has released three videos on its Facebook page and website. Although their donors have not yet been revealed, Strimling released a photo taken at what appears to be a recent meeting of the Southern Maine Landlord Association showing the group sharing information about the PAC and how to contribute.


Strimling, meanwhile, has had fundraising support and an endorsement from Progressive Portland, a nonprofit that helped fund the school bond campaign and advocates on other local issues.

Since July 1, Strimling has spent nearly $50,000, including more than $26,000 on campaign staff. He’s paid $12,000 this period to Baldacci Communications, where his campaign manager and partner Stephanie Clifford works as the president and partner in the company. He has also paid Marques Houston $7,500 to oversee field operations and Benjamin Gagnon $7,000 to oversee his campaign finances. State Rep. Charlotte Warren, of Hallowell, was paid $5,000 for social media and John Eder, a former Portland school board member and former state legislator, was paid more than $2,830 for material and labor for wooden campaign signs. And the Portland-based law firm Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios received $720 for legal fees.

Some of Strimling’s top donors during this period include actor Matthew Servitto ($500); Gateway Community Services, which helps the city’s immigrant community ($500); South Portland business owner Louis Maietta ($500), former Gov. John Baldacci ($250), Cape Elizabeth resident Millicent Monks ($850), Portland landlord and property owner Joseph Soley ($850) and affordable housing developer Nathan Szanton ($250).

Kate Snyder

His campaign continues to receive union support, including the Augusta-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($500), the New York-based Communications Workers of America ($850) and the New York-based United Steel Workers ($850). Other donations include $850 from the Gorham House of Pizza, $500 from Maine Realty Advisors and $500 from Maine Craft Distilling.

Thibodeau, meanwhile, spent over $18,000 from July 1 to Sept. 17. He has paid Marpheen Chann, of Chann Creative, $5,200 for consulting services this period. He has also spent $4,600 on social media advertising: $2,600 on Facebook and $2,000 on Google.

Thibodeau’s top donors this period include the Washington D.C.-based advocacy group People for the American Way ($850) and its president Michael Keegan ($250), Portland landlord and property owner Crandall Toothaker ($850), Bayside landowners Peter Quesada ($500) and Ross Furman ($500), and real estate professionals Ed Gardner ($350) and Joseph Porta ($850). Denis Landry and Landry French Construction each donated $850 and developer Jake Edwards gave $500. Other noteworthy contributions came from Green Dot Corp executive Christian Ruppel, of Florida ($850), Amcap Insurance Executive Dennis Ruppel ($850), General Marine Construction ($850), Nicholas Mavodones for City Council ($850), MaineHealth executive William Caron ($500) and Daniel Reardon ($600), who works for U.S. Sen. Angus King.


Snyder has spent over $35,500 this period, including $18,900 on mailers and $5,000 to Sylvan Strategies for campaign consulting. She has also paid her consultant an additional $1,975 for social media advertising: $1,095 on Google and $880 on Facebook.

Her notable donors this period include David Lauren of Ralph Lauren in New York City, ($850), Angus King III, an executive at Summit Energy ($350), retired educator Jeanne Crocker ($100), University of Chicago Professor Waverly Deutsch ($500), Forrest Research Analyst Mary Shea ($500) and developer Timothy O’Neal ($850). Other donors include City Councilor Kim Cook ($100), former Munjoy Hill  Neighborhood Organization president Jay Norris ($500), attorney Beth Stickney ($100) and Kate Snyder’s husband, Colin  ($500).

Entrepreneur and former state Sen. Justin Alfond contributed $850 each this period to Thibodeau and Snyder, while Allagash Brewing’s Rob Tod contributed $500 each to Thibodeau and Snyder.

Strimling has not only only led his competitors in money raised and spent – he also has nearly as much cash on hand has his two closest rivals combined headed into the final month and a half of the campaign.

The candidates’ next campaign finance filing deadline will be Oct. 25.

This will be the city’s third mayoral election since switching in 2011 from a ceremonial mayor appointed by fellow members of the council to a mayor elected by city voters.


Portland’s mayor is a full-time position with a four-year term, which is one year longer than the terms of other councilors and school board members.

The mayor’s duties include working with councilors to establish citywide goals and implementing those goals through the city manager. The mayor is also tasked with providing comments on city budgets, giving an annual “State of the City” address, and advocating for the city at the state and federal levels.

The winner will be chosen through ranked-choice voting, where voters rank the candidates in order of preference.

If no one wins a majority after the first tally, election officials eliminate the last-place finisher and redistribute that candidate’s votes based on each voter’s second-choice ranking. This process continues – with non-viable candidates being eliminated from the bottom up and their votes reallocated – until someone hits the magic threshold of 50 percent plus one vote.

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