Baldacci sets fundraising pace

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LEWISTON – Gov. John Baldacci holds a substantial fundraising advantage over the 15 other candidates who say they are also in the race.

The first fundraising report for the gubernatorial election was due Tuesday and Baldacci, a Democrat, reported raising more than $184,000 from Jan. 1 to April 25.

Republican Dave Emery, who’s involved in a three-way primary for the GOP nomination to oppose Baldacci, reported raising more than $65,000 for the same period.

Across-the-board comparisons between Emery and his two Republican opponents, state Sens. Peter Mills, Skowhegan, and Chandler Woodcock, Farmington, are difficult. Mills and Woodcock have both qualified as Maine Clean Election candidates and have received $200,000 in public financing for their primary campaigns.

Baldacci and Emery, two of the better-known names in the race, are running privately financed campaigns, which means they must raise the money they intend to spend from donors. Donations are capped at $500.

In addition to the money raised since January, Baldacci also reported that he had a war chest of more than $140,000 when the year started. After spending almost $164,000 this year, he still has nearly $161,000 in cash on hand.

Baldacci spent more than $15,570 on his campaign Web site and another $13,000 for polling during the reporting period. He also far outspent any of his opponents on campaign staff salaries.

Mills reported spending about $40,000 so far this year with the biggest expenditures going for signs, $15,937; print media ads, $10,000; and television ads, $6,845.

Woodcock spent about half as much, $19,493, during the same time. His biggest expenditures were $16,453 for campaign literature and $1,610 for his campaign manager.

Like Baldacci, Emery carried money over from last year. He reported having just more than $23,000 on hand when the year began. He has spent more than $85,000 so far this year. But unlike most other candidates in the race, Emery reported almost $30,000 in campaign debt. He reported about $3,500 in cash on hand. Emery’s biggest expenditures were related to his advertising campaign. He reported spending $25,000 on political consultants Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Potholm, who produced his television ads.

Barbara Merrill, a former Democrat and first-term state representative from Appleton, is running as a Clean Election Independent. She reported raising $5,265 in seed money contributions and spending $2,926. She spent about $1,400 on campaign literature.

Independent candidates have until June to submit at least 4,000 signatures to earn a spot on the ballot and to collect 2,500 qualifying $5 contributions to earn public financing for their campaigns. Seed money of up to $50,000 can be raised before public financing is awarded. Seed money contributions cannot exceed $100.

Former Lewiston Mayor John Jenkins, who’s in the governor’s race as an independent and has declared his intention to seek public financing, reported raising $965 in seed money and spending $459, leaving him a balance of $506.

Former state legislator John Michael of Auburn is also running as an independent. He reported raising $4,000 and spending $3,493. Of that, $1,900 was paid to the Lewiston-based Maine Grassroots Coalition for fundraising.

Pat LaMarche, who’s running as a Green Independent, reported no campaign activities and a cash balance at the end of the period of $6.65. LaMarche was her party’s vice presidential nominee in 2004.

The campaign disclosures for four other candidates were also available Tuesday. Democrat Christopher Miller of Gray raised $2,740 and spent $2,226.

Republican J. Martin Vachon of Mariaville spent $2,391 of his own money on limited campaign activities.

Independent Alex Hammer of Bangor reported seed money contributions of $350 and expenditures of $350.10.

Independent David John Jones reported contributions of $2,100 and expenditures of $724.

The reports for declared candidates Robert Bizier, Bruce Coyne, Nancy Oden and Jeffrey Sanborn were either not filed or not available Tuesday. All of the candidates might not have active campaigns.

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