AUGUSTA – The political action committee supporting the gay-marriage question on Maine’s ballot Nov. 6 raised $963,700 in October, bringing its total for the campaign to $4.3 million, according to preliminary numbers released Friday.

Mainers United for Marriage updated its fundraising totals before Friday’s midnight deadline for filing the next round of campaign finance reports.

Protect Marriage Maine, the primary opponent of same-sex marriage, had not released figures by Friday evening. The reporting period covers Oct. 1 to Oct. 23.

Nineteen groups are raising and spending money on the campaign, according to the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

Twelve support legalizing same-sex marriage and seven oppose it.

Most of the smaller groups reported nominal contributions, and several donated their proceeds to one of the two major PACs.

Just 10 days before the vote, the campaigns are switching from persuasion to get-out-the-vote efforts, including phone banks, mailers and contacts with the few remaining undecided voters, said Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine.

“Money always matters,” he said. “There’s a reason why candidates always want cash on hand leading up to the election.”

In the reports filed Friday, the Human Rights Campaign Maine Families PAC donated $30,000 to Mainers United; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders made a $25,000 contribution to Mainers United; Catholics for Marriage Equality reported raising $2,210; and Freedom to Marry Maine PAC reported raising $122,804, of which Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, contributed $50,000.

In opposition, Maine 4 Marriage raised $14,070 since Oct. 1 and Maine Marriage PAC raised $10,435, according to the reports.

On Thursday, the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal and charitable organization, announced that its international branch had donated $100,000 to fight gay marriage in Maine.

On the other side, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he would match donations in support of gay marriage up to $125,000.

The campaign raised $127,000 to meet the challenge, Mainers United announced Friday.

 

Staff Writer Susan Cover can be reached 621-5643 or at:

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