AUGUSTA — Republican Bruce Poliquin reported raising about $370,000 through 2013 in his bid to represent Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, more than anyone else so far, according to campaign figures released Monday.
The former state treasurer’s campaign raised approximately $148,000 in the last three months of 2013, according to a press release from Matthew Hutson, his campaign manager.
But a third of that new money was Poliquin’s own, and he has given his campaign more than a quarter of the money it has.
Of the four party candidates running for the seat now held by U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, an East Millinocket Democrat running for governor, only Poliquin, of Oakland, and Democrat Emily Cain, an Orono state senator, have released updated contribution figures this year.
Poliquin’s in a comfortable money lead over Cain, who reported about $300,000 in total contributions as of year’s end. Hutson said Poliquin has about $300,000 in cash on hand, meaning he can spend it now. Cain’s campaign only had $170,000 in cash on hand at the end of 2013’s last quarter, said Dan Cashman, her spokesman.
However, personal money makes up most of the gap between the Republican and Democrat.
Poliquin, a wealthy businessman, has self-financed his race to the tune of more than $100,000 — more than a quarter of his total haul so far. However, in a press release, Poliquin touted 384 donations ranging from $5 contributions to maximum, $2,600 donations, citing “enthusiastic support” among voters in the 2nd District.
Hutson said more than $50,000 of the money raised in 2013’s last quarter was Poliquin’s own. From January to September 2013, he reported giving $52,000 of his campaign’s $220,000. Poliquin also contributed significant money to unsuccessful runs for his party’s nomination in gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
Kevin Raye, the former Maine Senate president from Perry taking on Poliquin in the GOP primary, hasn’t released fundraising totals for the most recent quarter, due Friday to the Federal Election Commission. He was behind Poliquin as of September, with $90,000, but didn’t use personal money.
Poliquin was a political unknown in 2010, entering Maine’s scene in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Gov. Paul LePage won the primary, spending less than $200,000.
However, Poliquin spent nearly $800,000 — more than $700,000 of that his money — on his way to a sixth-place finish. He allied himself with LePage, and became state treasurer with the governor’s endorsement in 2011, keeping a high public profile on state fiscal matters.
While in office in 2012, he ran unsuccesfully for his party’s nod for the U.S. Senate seat eventually won by Sen. Angus King. Poliquin finished second in the primary to former Secretary of State Charlie Summers. Poliquin spent $150,000 of his money to run, nearly as much as he got from outside contributors.
Poliquin left the treasurer’s office after Democrats took back the Legislature in early 2013, and his next move was highly anticipated. He publicly flirted with seeking a number of offices, including in Congress, in Maine Senate and with the Maine Republican Party.
In August, he and Raye announced congressional runs. Cain announced in June, and her main opponent, Troy Jackson, the Maine Senate majority leader from Allagash, announced in July. Democrat Alden Smith of Sangerville and independent Blaine Richardson of Belfast are also running.
Jackson’s campaign said it will release new fundraising figures Friday, while Raye’s campaign hasn’t said when it will disclose them.