Democrat Emily Cain and Republican Bruce Poliquin are in a virtual dead heat financially and well ahead of their primary opponents in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in Congress.
The candidates for the seat in Maine’s 2nd congressional district had to file new fundraising totals for the Jan. 1-to-March 31 period with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, and the deadline is important, as it’s the last look the public will have at the candidates’ finances before late May, just ahead of the June 10 primary election.
Ahead of the deadline, Cain and Poliquin already had monetary leads on their opponents, Democrat Troy Jackson and Republican Kevin Raye; but the new numbers show that they widened the gap. In the quarter, the Republicans lagged well behind Democrats.
Cain, a state senator from Orono, raised $191,000 in the latest quarter, pushing her fundraising total to $492,000, with $219,000 on hand. Jackson, the Maine Senate majority leader from Allagash, has raised a total of $240,000 — less than half of Cain’s — reporting $103,000 for the quarter, with $71,000 on hand.
Poliquin, a former state treasurer from Oakland, raised $122,000 in the quarter, bringing his total to $492,000 over the quarter. He has spent far less than Cain so far, with $341,000 in cash on hand.
Raye, an ex-Maine Senate president from Perry, had the most disappointing quarter, with just $82,000 raised and $286,000 total. However, he hasn’t spent much and has $202,000 left in his campaign coffers.
Poliquin, a wealthy businessman, has given his campaign $113,000 so far, about a quarter of its total. However, he put in only $4,000 in the latest quarter. Without personal money, Poliquin still would lead Raye in the money race by $93,000.
Still, in a statement, Mike Leavitt, Raye’s campaign spokesman, acknowledged the candidate will be outspent, noting that Poliquin outspent opponents in unsuccessful bids in primary races for statewide office in 2010 and 2012 using a lot of personal money and that Raye is on track with the primary budget he set.
Poliquin “continues to do so in this race, but history shows that candidates who spend vast amounts of money on primary campaigns in Maine do not fare well,” Leavitt said.
Matthew Hutson, Poliquin’s campaign manager, said Wednesday that Raye’s argument was a bad one, and said the district “lines up more with Poliquin’s values” on fiscal and social issues.
The race has been prioritized by national parties. The exit of Michaud, a Democrat, to run for governor has put the seat in play for Republicans perhaps now more than ever since the first time Michaud ran for it, narrowly beating Raye after a four-way Republican primary in 2002. Raye also lost to Michaud in 2012.
The two Republicans waited until the deadline day to announce their numbers, but the Democrats announced theirs last week. While Jackson was far behind, his fundraising consultant said the candidate “will have the resources necessary to communicate his message.”
In a statement Thursday, Cain trumpeted her lead in the quarter after the new numbers came out.
“She is raising more money than anyone else in the race, which will mean that more people will get to hear Emily Cain’s story, what motivates her, what inspires her, and her style of working together with her colleagues from all parties,” said Levi Knapp, her campaign manager.