Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud has received twice as much money in campaign contributions than Republican challenger Kevin Raye.
A significant majority of Michaud’s money came from political action committees, while Raye outperformed the incumbent in individual contributions.
According to paperwork filed earlier this week with the Federal Election Committee, Raye held his own during the third quarter of the year, which spans July 1 to Sept. 30. Over the past three months, Michaud raised $216,435, while Raye amassed a respectable $209,683 — a difference of less than $7,000.
Michaud maintains a significant advantage, however. Of the total amounts raised this entire election cycle, Michaud has garnered $1.1 million versus Raye’s $559,000. Michaud also has more cash on hand by the end of the third quarter — $620,000 vs. $120,000.
Both candidates have received sizable contributions from political action committees, but Michaud has received a much higher percentage from PACs — 62 percent compared to 17 percent of Raye’s total.
Raye’s campaign consultant Kathie Summers-Grice contends Michaud has received a disproportionate amount of support from PACs and noted that the challenger raised almost $20,000 more from individual contributors.
She said that’s why they’ve dubbed Michaud PAC-man. “His support seems to come from insiders in Washington. Kevin is proud that he has out-raised Mike from Maine donors since he got into this race.”
Michaud’s campaign spokesman Dan Cashman said the support from industry PACs is evidence that the incumbent has fought for Maine businesses. Cashman also dismissed the insinuation that PAC money is unsavory.
“If the Raye campaign is troubled by PAC contributions, I wonder if they’ll return theirs?” he said.
Raye has positioned himself as the business-friendly candidate, but few industry PACs have contributed to his campaign. A PAC for the National Federation of Independent Business — a right-leaning business group that endorsed Raye in June — has contributed $5,000. Political action committees from Exxon Mobil and Wyman’s of Maine blueberry company, for example, have contributed $5,000 and $2,750, respectively.
Michaud, on the other hand, has received hefty support from industries, particularly from health care. Twelve PACs associated with the health care industry have contributed $50,000 to the incumbent — an outspoken supporter of the Affordable Care Act. Michaud has also received $62,000 in contributions from 13 PACs covering a range of industries, including aviation, dairy, forestry, paper and textiles. Five labor PACs have also pitched in $21,000. Michaud, a moderate Democrat, has also received $4,000 from the National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund.
Raye got a large amount of contributions from fellow politicians. About 40 percent of PAC contributions to Raye came from Republican congressional sources: campaigns of sitting U.S. Representatives, PACs that are overseen by congressmen or PACs that are named for House reps.
For instance, a PAC called the Freedom Project, which is chaired by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, contributed $10,000 to Raye’s campaign. Another PAC, Friends of John Boehner, contributed $2,000. In total, Raye received almost $40,000 from those groups.
Anthony Corrado, a political science professor at Colby College who’s a nationally known expert on campaign finance, said PAC contributions from party leaders are common. In this case, they were probably the result of Raye’s status as a Young Gun. In June, Raye was included in a list of 38 house candidates that the National Republican Congressional Committee hailed as noteworthy.
Corrado also said the apparent lack of industry support for Raye isn’t a reflection of his business acumen.
“It’s just harder for a challenger to attract PAC dollars, particularly in a race that is not perceived to be close,” he said.
Michaud and Raye will appear on WABI TV tonight at 7 for their second debate. Several polls in the past month have shown Michaud leading Raye by double-digit margins.
Ben McCanna — 861-9239