January 7

Michaud reports $1 million in campaign donations

Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler have yet to publicize their recent campaign finance reports.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud announced Monday that his campaign committee has collected $1 million in donations.

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U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democratic candidate for Maine governor, has already raised $1 million in donations.

2013 Press Herald File Photo/Tim Greenway

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Michaud is in a three-way race with Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler. His campaign said Monday that it received $700,000 in the latest reporting period, which covered the last six months of 2013. Michaud, who announced his candidacy in June, pulled in $313,000 during 18 days of fundraising in June.

LePage and Cutler have not released their most recent campaign finance reports, which are due Jan. 15. A spokesman for the LePage campaign did not indicate when it will release its report. A spokeswoman for Cutler said the campaign will release its report at the deadline.

LePage’s first 2013 finance report showed $123,000 in donations, bringing his total at the time to nearly $340,000. The governor’s campaign said at the time that it expected an increase in contributions in the second half of 2013, after the Legislature adjourned. Campaign finance laws prohibit the governor’s campaign from receiving donations from corporations that deploy lobbyists during the legislative session.

Cutler reported $430,000 in contributions through June.

In a prepared statement, Michaud said the latest round of donations showed that voters “are hungry for change and a leader with a proven record of bringing people together.”

According to the Michaud campaign, the Democratic congressman’s contributions came from more than 3,700 donors. Nearly 87 percent of the donations were made by individuals, and 82 percent were from Maine. His campaign also said that nearly 45 percent of his donors gave $50 or less.

Brent Littlefield, the governor’s political adviser, said in an email that “three decade politician Michael Michaud has been schooled in the ways of Washington where raising campaign cash is a higher priority than solving people’s problems.”

Cutler’s spokeswoman Crystal Canney would not say how much the campaign drew in donations over the last six months of 2013, only that it is “very pleased” with its fundraising.

Michaud’s $1 million puts him on track to eclipse the total donations to LePage and Cutler in 2010. However, all of the candidates are fundraising under much higher individual donor limits. In 2010, candidates were allowed to accept as much as $750 per election. For party candidates, that meant $750 for the primary and $750 for the general election for a total of $1,500 per donor.

The limits were doubled in 2011, so party candidates can receive $1,500 for the primary and $1,500 for the general election, for a total of $3,000 per donor. Michaud’s campaign said 82 people have made the maximum $3,000 contribution.

As an independent, Cutler has no primary so he will not be able draw more than $1,500 per donor.

Additionally, spending by outside groups could dwarf spending by the campaign committees. Such groups targeted Maine’s 2010 gubernatorial race, as well as legislative races in 2010 and 2012, shattering spending records in both election cycles.

LePage’s campaign pulled in close to $1.4 million in 2010, while Cutler brought in more than $2.1 million. Both were privately financed candidates. Democrat Libby Mitchell, who finished third in the 2010 race, was a publicly financed candidate, which allowed her campaign to receive a set amount of public funds when her competitors spent more money. Mitchell spent $1.9 million during the 2010 race.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

smistler@pressherald.com

Twitter: @stevemistler

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