Three of the four candidates vying to become Portland’s next mayor have raised a combined total of nearly $360,000, likely setting a record for spending in a city election.

Two candidates – incumbent Ethan Strimling and City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau – have each each raised six figures and a third, Kate Snyder, is approaching that mark. The fourth candidate, Travis Curran, said he’s not raising money and had not filed a campaign finance report as of Monday morning.

Both Snyder and Thibodeau out-raised Strimling during the most recent reporting period, according to the last round of campaign finance reports to be filed at City Hall before Election Day.

Although Thibodeau led the field in fundraising from Sept. 18 to Oct. 22, Strimling and Snyder have more cash on hand, giving them an edge in being able to present their closing arguments to voters.

Strimling enters the final week with the most money on-hand at nearly $37,198. And Snyder, who is running the most frugal campaign, has $29,415 in cash on-hand – more than a third of her total raised.

Thibodeau raised over $20,800 in the last period, bringing his campaign total up $110,800. Snyder raised the second-highest amount last period with $15,300, bringing her campaign total to $85,300. Strimling raised $13,550, bringing his total $161,725.


But Thibodeau trails in the important cash on-hand. He enters the final week with just over $10,500 in cash and he announced on Friday that he was spending most of that money – about $7,000 – on TV ads running on News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ). His campaign will run 15, 30-second spots this week, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. The TV ads are a rare, but not unprecedented move, for a city race, since both Strimling and Michael Brennan tried it in 2015.

Unite Portland, a political action committee formed to oppose Strimling and does not support any candidate, continues to spread its message, primarily on Facebook. The group, funded largely by real estate interests, recently spent an additional $15,000 to produce and promote its message, according to independent expenditure reports filed at City Hall.

Two other PACs appear to be getting in the game.

The Building Trades PAC, which is led by John Napolitano, president of the Maine State Building & Construction Trades Council, filed an independent expenditure report last Wednesday after purchasing $3,340 in newspaper ads in support of the incumbent. As of Monday morning, the group had not yet registered with the city, however.

The Local 740 PAC filed a finance report even though it had only raised $144. But the PAC, which is connected to the city’s firefighter’s union, had not yet registered with the city and declared its purpose.

Union President Chris Thomson said the PAC is trying to raise enough money to do a mailer in support of Andrew Volk, who is running for the District 3 seat on the City Council against Edward Suslovic, Tae Chong, Layla Kargar and Andrew Graham.


This will be the city’s third mayoral election since it switched 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 position pays about $76,650.

The mayor’s duties include working with councilors to establish citywide goals and implementing those goals through the city manager. The mayor also is 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 on Nov. 5. 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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