And they're coming around the final turn, headed into the home stretch – Maine's most wide open gubernatorial race in years is less than two weeks away from narrowing the field of 14 to … at least five.
At least five? In addition to the one Democrat and one Republican who will be on the ticket, at least three Independent candidates have made the ballot.
The final pre-primary campaign finance reports were due last Friday and from here on out candidates are required to file reports within 24 hours of major collecting or spending activity.
Friday’s reports do give us some eye-opening news.
Let's start with my favorite number, the amount of cash-on-hand. That tells us who has what left to spend.
$123,000 – Paul LePage
$98,000 – Steve Abbott
$52,000 – Peter Mills*
$26,000 – Bruce Poliquin
$14,000 —Bill Beardsley
$3,000 – Matt Jacobson
$-50,000 – Les Otten
$70,000 – Pat McGowan*
$25,000 — Libby Mitchell*
$13,000 – Steve Rowe
$3,000 – Rosa Scarcelli
$497,000 – Shawn Moody
$51,000 - Elliot Cutler
$1,900 - Kevin Scott
*Clean Elections candidates
Behind the numbers:
Steve Abbott loaned his campaign about $87,000, beginning on May 16. Previously, Abbott had not donated or loaned any money to his campaign. He raised about $81,000 from donors during this reporting period and a total of $345,000 in cash contributions since he began running in January. And though Abbott's campaign has $98,000 in cash right now, if he was concerned about paying himself back, he would only have $12,000 at his disposal, plus whatever he raises from here to the finish line.
Bill Beardsley raised about $13,000 during this reporting period and a total of $64,000 in cash contributions from people other than himself. Beardsley and his wife contributed a combined $250,000 previously to the campaign. His campaign is also showing about $8,000 in unpaid debts.
Matt Jacobson raised about $26,000 during this period and a total of $144,000 for his campaign. He previously loaned himself $20,000, but hasn't spent or loaned anymore of his own money since. On Sunday, he reported spending $24,000 on an advertising purchase.
Paul LePage raised $59,000 during this reporting period and has raised $165,000 in cash contributions overall. He has the tops in cash on hand at this point, but he's in the same boat as Abbott – he loaned himself $111,000 and if he wants to remain whole, that means he only has about $11,000 left to spend, plus however much else he raises.
Peter Mills is the only publically-funded candidate on the Republican side and thanks to Otten’s spending, received the maximum $600,000 early on in the primary race. He still has about $50,000 left to spend.
Les Otten continues to spend at a furious pace, loaning his campaign nearly $1 million in this reporting period. He’s loaned himself about $2.2 million so far and spent about $2.3 million. Though according to his latest filings, he appears to have spent about $50,000 more than his campaign had to spend, so I’m guessing he’ll have to dig further down in his deep pockets before this is over.
Bruce Poliquin raised about $123,000 from donors not including himself this reporting period and personally made about $61,000 in in-kind contributions. Overall, he's spent more than $300,000 in in-kind contributions and donated more than $100,000 more in his own money to his campaign.
Pat McGowan now has about $19,000 in unpaid debt and about $70,000 in cash on hand.
Libby Mitchell previously had about $35,000 in unpaid debt, but that is now paid off and she still has about $25,000 left to spend.
Steve Rowe raised about $72,000 during this reporting period and a total of about $479,000 over the course of his campaign. He previously had about $20,500 in unpaid debt and that has been reduced to about $7,000.
Rosa Scarcelli loaned her campaign about $230,000 during the reporting period and about $256,000 to her campaign overall. But she’s spent most of it, leaving her with about $3,000 in cash on hand.
Many 24-hour expenditure reports have been filed on both sides of the aisle, so prepare yourselves for the advertising onslaught that is sure to follow. Radio and television ad buys dominate the records, but so do direct mailers. They will find you! Scarcelli alone has spent about $110,000 in the last couple of days on television ad buys.
On the Republican side, Abbott and LePage are well-poised to make a final push, if they are willing to say goodbye to the personal money they both loaned their campaigns. Poliquin and Otten, who have already demonstrated their willingness to part with their personal cash, are also ready to flood the airwaves, though Otten has out-spent all in the field by quite a bit. Mills, thanks to his public funding, is also in a good financial position. Jacobson and Beardsley could be down for the count, at least financially.
For the Democrats, the money advantage at this point goes to Scarcelli, who is obviously using some serious personal resources to blitz the airwaves and go out with a bang. But will it be enough to vault her over a poorly received convention performance? Rowe looks to be out of financial juice and the question for him is whether he gained enough serious momentum after a positive convention showing. Mitchell and McGowan are treading water money-wise, thanks to their public financing. Depending on how Scarcelli's advertising campaign goes, they may need to make sure they have enough to rebut any potential attack.
The Independents don't have to worry so much about their fundraising at this point because their sights are set on November. But Cutler, who raised just $14,000 this period, seriously underperformed his previous showing. Overall, he's raised about $345,000 from outside donors and contributed about $240,000 of his own money. But the big news here is Shawn Moody, owner of Moody’s Collision Centers, who loaned his campaign $500,000 on April 21, though he has raised no private donations.