Gov. Paul LePage has raised nearly $340,000 for his 2014 re-election bid, according to a campaign finance report filed with the state late Monday.

That puts the sitting governor in the same ballpark as his two top rivals, although his fundraising for the past six months was less robust than his challengers’ and slightly off his own pace from last year.

The governor’s re-election committee posted $123,000 in contributions for the first half of this year, according to records with the state ethics and elections commission. It collected $135,000 during the first six months of 2012, or $12,000 more than during the same period this year.

While LePage’s campaign submitted his report just before the 11:59 p.m. deadline on Monday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler posted their semi-annual reports earlier in the day Monday in an effort to tout their respective fundraising efforts.

Cutler, who began drawing contributions in February, hauled more than $430,000 in donations. Michaud’s exploratory bid generated $313,000 over a 17-day period.

LePage’s re-election committee has been active since December 2011, although the governor only announced last month that he has made the decision to run.

Not included in LePage’s fundraising report is money raised in early July at a high-profile fundraiser in Kennebunkport headlined by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. That event took place just after the June 30 reporting deadline, and the campaign has not disclosed how much money the fundraiser generated for LePage’s re-election bid.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe were honorary hosts of the fundraising event. Neither reported contributions to LePage in the most recent report, although Snowe’s husband, former Gov. John McKernan, gave LePage the maximum $3,000 in 2012.

LePage’s fundraising effort for the first half of this year was hindered by restrictions that prohibit the sitting governor from receiving donations during a legislative session from corporations that deploy lobbyists. LePage took in $73,750 from companies in early 2011 and 2012 compared to just $22,550 this year, when the Legislature was in session for much of the 2013 reporting period.

LePage has so far collected $227,565 from individuals giving more than $50, including $79,650 this year. Over $195,000 of those donations come from donors with Maine addresses. LePage has received $31,600 from out-of-state donors giving more than $50.

Donors who give less than $50 are not identified by name or address in the reports. He has received over $5,500 from donors giving $50 or less.

By comparison, Cutler raised more than $241,000 from Maine donors and $190,000 from out-of state donors. Michaud raised $262,000 from Maine donors and $51,100 from out-of-state donors.

LePage has received over $10,000 from political action committees, while Michaud had taken in $12,800 from political action committees. Cutler has not received money from PACs yet.

Brent Littlefield, a consultant to the LePage campaign, told reporters Monday that he expected a competitive campaign. Littlefield also took a swipe at the governor’s expected rivals, saying Cutler has been running for governor for “five years” while Michaud has spent “thirty-plus years begging for campaign contributions.”

Michaud had amassed more than $70,000 in contributions to his future congressional re-election bid before turning his focus to the governor’s office last month. State law allows only $3,000 of that to be donated directly to his state campaign, although the money can be used by the Maine Democratic Party to support a gubernatorial bid.

Cutler’s Republican and Democratic opponents have a fundraising advantage because they can accept donations of as much as $3,000. The limit includes $1,500 for the primary election and $1,500 for the general election, although money not used for the June 2014 primary can be used in can legally be used during the fall general election. Cutler will not have a primary so he cannot solicit more than $1,500 per donor.

Theree other candidates reported fundraising results this week.

Former independent U.S. Senate candidate Steve Woods is running as a Democrat in the 2014 governor’s race. Woods reported no contributions to his campaign, but a $50,000 contribution of his own, according to The Associated Press.

Independent Lee Schultheis of Freeport showed $5,000 through Monday, all of it from him and his family.

Green Independent David Slagger showed that he raised $400.

Steve Mistler — 620-7016
[email protected]
Twitter: @stevemistler

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