Outside groups have raised more than $4 million in the Maine governor’s race so far – almost $2.9 million of it from Democratic backers, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed Friday.

A Better Maine, a Democratic Party-backed political action committee, led the pack, raising $1.7 million in the two-month period between July 18 and Sept. 30 – spending most of it on opposition ads against Republican candidate Shawn Moody.

Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, and Moody, who owns a chain of auto-body repair shops, are seen as front-runners in the four-way race to succeed Gov. Paul LePage, who is termed out of office. Terry Hayes, the state treasurer, and Alan Caron, an economic development consultant, are running as independents.

All of the outside spending so far has been focused on the party-backed candidates.

Priorities USA Action, backed by a national Democratic super PAC, has raised a total of $853,944, spending most of it on online ads opposing Moody.

A PAC backed by the national and Maine teachers unions – Citizens Who Support Maine’s Public Schools – has raised a total of $446,000 so far, and spent $308,000 on television ads in the governor’s race. The Maine Education Association is backing Mills.


Rebuild Maine, which backs Democratic candidates, raised $169,000 in the two-month reporting period, bringing its total contributions to $759,000. The PAC has spent $112,000 in the governor’s race, and almost $200,000 in state legislative races, and still has more than $300,000 cash on hand.

The Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund reported a major contribution of $1.15 million from the national PAC of the powerful environmental group League of Conservation Voters, but it has spent only about $30,000, leaving the PAC with a million-dollar war chest on hand going into the final weeks of the campaign.

Altogether, Democratic-backed PACs and party committees are outspending Republican committees 3-to-1 in the governor’s race, spending roughly $2.9 million to the $830,000 spent by the Maine Republican Party.

The Maine Republican Party, which received about $775,000 from the national Republican Governors Association, raised $939,000 in the two-month reporting period.

Most of the funding for A Better Maine came from the Democratic Governors Association.

Earlier this year, the DGA announced it planned to spend $20 million in gubernatorial races in eight states – including Maine – that could determine which party has control over drawing electoral boundaries in 2021. Congressional redistricting is done only once each decade, and Maine is among 26 states where the governor has the power to approve or reject congressional maps that will be redrawn after the 2020 Census.


The money for Priorities USA Action came from the national super PAC of the same name, which is a longtime Democratic powerhouse PAC that received $6 million in contributions from Donald Sussman, a financier, philanthropist and a former owner of the Portland Press Herald, and $5 million from billionaire business magnate George Soros this year alone, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The outside spending reported Friday lagged behind the amount reported at the same point in the 2014 election cycle. In that race – between LePage, Democrat Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler – there had been $6.2 million spent in the governor’s contest, with the largest PAC expenditure of $2.3 million by the Republican Governors Association.

The financial reports – due by midnight Friday for all PACs, state party committees and ballot question committees – do not include updates from candidate campaigns.

In the governor’s race, the Mills campaign has raised significantly more funds than the Moody campaign, according to financial reports filed with the state ethics commission on Sept. 25.

Overall, Mills has raised a total of $1.8 million for the race, to Moody’s $1.4 million – and Moody gave his campaign just over $500,000 of his own money. For the most recent reporting period, from July 18 to Sept. 18, Mills raised almost $800,000, more than twice the $367,000 raised by Moody.

Hayes, the only candidate for governor who is using Maine’s public campaign finance system, has raised $1.1 million in Clean Election funding and Caron, who is self-financing his campaign, has raised $778,000.


The candidate campaigns will file updated financial reports on contributions and expenditures on Oct. 26.

Several committees reported financial activity on ballot initiatives Friday.

On Question 1, which would raise taxes on wealthier Mainers to subsidize in-home care for the elderly and disabled, several committees reported raising more than $250,000 in support of the measure.

On Question 4, a $49 million bond for infrastructure at the University of Maine System campuses, a PAC backed largely by more than $100,000 from the campus foundations raised $218,000 in support of the bond. The PAC has spent $142,000 on television ads.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: noelinmaine

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