Democrat Emily Cain had the most money on hand of any candidate running for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District at a recent filing deadline, widening a money lead on her opponent, while Republican Bruce Poliquin fell behind primary opponent Kevin Raye.
Raye and Cain go into the June 10 primary best positioned for the general election in November, to decide who will replace U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat running for governor.
So far, the four party candidates in the race have spent more than $1.3 million.
But Poliquin has plenty of money left, and he has spent $180,000 on television advertising during the most recent period, from April 1 to May 21, reports from which were due to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.
Cain’s primary opponent, Troy Jackson, is in a worse spot: She has more than seven times the cash on hand that he does, leading him $145,000 to $19,000. He raised just $37,000 in the most recent period, bringing his total to $277,000.
He has little money to spend on television advertising during the campaign’s homestretch, while the other candidates have been on TV for weeks. Jackson’s campaign is trying to fundraise around a 30-second ad posted online to get it on the air.
Perhaps worse for him, two outside groups have promised at least a quarter-million-dollar advertising campaign against him, with the pro-abortion rights Emily’s List announcing a “six-figure” TV airtime purchase for Cain on Thursday. They join the League of Conservation Voters, which announced a $150,000 mail campaign against Jackson in mid-May.
Jackson spokesman Alan Brewer wrote in an email that the campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort has been strong and volunteer-driven, and the campaign expects to get on TV “within a few days of the election.”
“Troy’s campaign is a working class campaign through and through — we count pennies, we make ends meet, and on June 10 we expect to win because Troy’s message connects with the people who are coming out to vote,” Brewer wrote.
Nearly as notable, however, was the lackluster performance from Poliquin, a former state treasurer from Oakland: He raised $35,000 over the same period, less than half Raye’s total, $71,000.
Poliquin was virtually tied with Cain in total money raised at the last fundraising deadline in April, when he reported $341,000 in cash on hand.
He has raised $526,000 campaign-long, including $114,000 of his own money, but now has $142,000 on hand, trailing Raye, an ex-Maine Senate president from Perry with $162,000 left in his war chest and $357,000 raised campaign-long.
But Poliquin also spent a lot in the period — nearly $234,000. Most of that, $180,000, was spent on television advertising. He was the first one to advertise there in the campaign, and he has since run an attack ad on Raye.
Asked via email if the Poliquin campaign was comfortable with its standing going into the primary, Matthew Hutson, the campaign manager, replied, “If we were not comfortable with the numbers we would not have sent them to you.”
“Bruce Poliquin has been busy meeting and listening to voters in the 2nd Congressional District and actively picking up voter support going into the June 10 primary,” he wrote.
However, Raye spokesman Michael Leavitt said in a prepared statement that the Poliquin campaign “is in trouble” and despite couching himself as a fiscal conservative, Poliquin has “burned through his resources” quickly.
In a prepared statement, Cain campaign manager Levi Knapp said the campaign is getting such strong support “because voters know that she will continue to provide a voice for Maine’s working families in Washington.”
James Melcher, a political science professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, wrote in an email that Poliquin’s numbers weren’t good news for the candidate, but he thinks Raye and Poliquin are better-known collectively, so fundraising is more important for Cain and Jackson.
“I tend to think who gets their people out to the polls in a race like this is going to matter than some of this sort of month to month ebb and flow of donations,” Melcher wrote.