GOP’s Poliquin boasts biggest war chest in Maine governor’s race

By Glenn Adams
Associated Press / January 20, 2010

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AUGUSTA, Maine - Eager to put his fund-raising abilities on display in Maine’s crowded race for governor, Republican Bruce Poliquin reported yesterday that he received more than $633,000 through the end of 2009.

Poliquin’s and other candidates’ finance reports served as one of their first opportunities to show they are serious about running and have the organization and support needed to mount meaningful campaigns. Candidates had until 11:59 p.m. yesterday to file reports with state elections officials covering finances through Dec. 31.

The state Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices lists 23 Democratic, Republican, Green, and unenrolled candidates for the office Governor John Baldacci, a Democrat, must vacate after this year because of term limits. They may raise money privately for their campaigns, or if they qualify, receive public funding.

Poliquin was leading the pack as reports rolled in yesterday, besting fellow Republicans Les Otten and Matt Jacobson.

Poliquin’s report shows $633,593 in contributions overall, including $100,000 of his own money during the July-December reporting period.

The finance report “demonstrates that we have a tremendous amount of early support and will have the resources, tools, and staff to cover a lot of ground and reach out to voters all across the state,’’ Poliquin said.

Otten reported $85,000 in donations plus $586,000 he lent to his own campaign. He said donations have picked up since he started airing television ads a few weeks ago.

Jacobson reported $88,400 in cash and in-kind donations, but said he has taken in thousands more since Jan. 1.

Bill Becker, Jacobson campaign spokesman, said they are undaunted by Poliquin’s funding edge. “I don’t think we need to have the most amount of money in the race to win,’’ Becker said.

Republican Paul LePage reported a total of $61,115 in contributions, $20,000 of which was in loans.

On the Democratic side, the privately financed campaign of Rosa Scarcelli reported $258,465 in contributions, $16,300 of it in loans.

Among the candidates hoping to receive public funding, Democrat Elizabeth Mitchell said she had raised about $70,000 in seed money, well over the minimum of $40,000 public financing recipients must collect from Mainers in maximum $100 lots by April 1 in order to qualify for public funds.

Fellow Democrat John Richardson, who is also seeking public financing, reported donations of $46,250 in seed money, which is used for basic campaign organizing. Of the total, $14,500 was spent.

Donn Dion said she raised $2,500 in seed money.

Republican Peter Mills reported receiving $37,595 in seed money.

Candidates who entered the race after Jan. 1, including Democrat Patrick McGowan and Republicans Steve Abbott and William Beardsley, did not have to meet yesterday’s reporting deadline.