LePage kicks off re-election three years ahead of next gubernatorial vote

Robert F. Bukaty, AP Photo

Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a news conference, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011, at the State House in Augusta.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A $500-per-person fundraiser was held Tuesday by Gov. Paul LePage’s re-election committee just one day before the start of the 125th Legislature’s second regular session.

Since money cannot be raised from lobbyists during a legislative session, many Democratic and Republican groups held fundraisers before the session.

But LePage appears to be running for re-election uncommonly early.

He filed paperwork in August 2011 to run for re-election in 2014. A re-election website also was launched recently.

Paul Lavin, deputy director of the Maine Ethics Commission, said the formation of a gubernatorial election committee more than three years before an election is highly unusual. Online records only go back to 2002, but this is by far the earliest such instance in those records.

When Gov. John Baldacci decided to run for re-election, he filed paperwork in October 2005, about one year before the 2006 election.

Lavin said LePage and any other candidate can file whenever they like — it just means they have to submit campaign finance reports. The first report is due Jan. 17 and would include everything raised and spent during 2011, according to Lavin.

A fundraiser on Tuesday gave donors the option of contributing $3,000 to host the event, $1,500 to co-host or $500 for a ticket. Those are the maximum donations allowed by law, a ceiling that LePage and lawmakers ensured was doubled last spring.

The governor’s office referred questions about LePage’s re-election committee to Brent Littlefield.

An adviser to LePage and one of his 2010 campaign architects, Littlefield said he never comments on fundraising because everything is available through campaign finance reports.

He did say that just because the governor is raising money doesn’t mean he’s actively campaigning for re-election.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said he was surprised the governor is so interested in re-election this early.

“If Gov. LePage is really concerned about his re-election, he would be better served spending his time solving the problems facing the people of Maine rather than raising money for an election that’s nearly three years away,” Grant said. “Here he is, a governor who has said time and time again he doesn’t care about getting re-elected, and while we’re facing a budget shortfall, increasing health care costs, and job losses, what he’s focused on is building his war chest.”

Shortly after LePage was sworn into office, a nonprofit group funded largely from leftover campaign and transition funds formed. That group is called Maine People Before Politics.

Littlefield is involved with Maine People Before Politics and with the governor’s re-election campaign but he said the two are separate and must be by law.

Maine People Before Politics has been largely supportive of the governor’s agenda and of his accomplishments, but Littlefield said the group remains issue-focused.

Richard Swanson is the treasurer of both Maine People Before Politics and the Committee to Re-Elect Paul LePage.

Swanson also kept the books for LePage’s 2010 campaign for governor and since has been appointed by LePage as deputy director of the State Planning Office.

The LePage re-election committee and Maine People Before Politics are entirely separate from the Maine Republican Party, which presumably would support LePage in 2014.

Asked whether the governor was worried about a GOP primary challenge in 2014, Littlefield said: “I have absolutely no concern about that.”

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Comments

Andrea Lavertu's picture

I'm sorry, but this guy is a

I'm sorry, but this guy is a 'joke'!

Gerald Weinand's picture

The explanation for this is

The explanation for this is simple:

Brent Littlefield needs a paycheck, and People Before Politics (PB4P), which Littlefield heads, has failed to garner donations to be self sustaining.

Think about it: why would a candidate seek to max out some of his donors three years before an election? It only makes sense if that candidate has no intention of actually running.

If we take that as fact, then why raise the money?

Because it can be used for other things under the cover of a campaign.

I'll remind readers that PB4P received its start up money from leftover funds from the LePage transition and inaugural accounts - the exact amount of which has never been disclosed by Gov. LePage.

The quarterly report in June will be the telltale - my guess is that after negligible expenses for office rent, etc., the remainder will be Littlefield's salary.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

does he realize how many

does he realize how many homeless people that would feed or how many prescriptions for our elderly that would buy....talk about being a moron...he is worried because of the budget shortfall and yet he is charging big bucks for a plate of food....give me a break

Mark Elliott's picture

It is a "fundraiser"

It is a "fundraiser" Tina......they ALL do this. Take a look at Baldacci's or Obama's fundraisers! The question is, how many MORE Mainers will be helped if we give him twice as much time to make the changes we need? Maybe you should take a look here --> http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-04-05/tech/30074789_1_sticker-s... $38,500 per plate to eat with our socialist "leader"!

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Mark I don't care who it

Mark I don't care who it is....there isn't a plate of food in this world worth the kind of money they charge. I am so tired of politicians....Maybe it's time to elect Minnie and Mickey Mouse to run things.

Mark Elliott's picture

It isn't the "plate of food"

It isn't the "plate of food" they are buying. It is a donation to a cause just like charities do.......at charity auctions, it isn't unusual for items to sell for much more than they are worth because the buyer knows it is for a good cause. The "plate of food" just gives the donor a little something in return....

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Mark there you go again with

Mark there you go again with an answer to everything but no solution to the problem.....doesn't it get a bit tiresome to pretend to be a "know it all"

Mark Elliott's picture

The problem is you don't

The problem is you don't understand how those fundraisers work......I have a solution to that. Don't go! If you do wish to support the cause then write the check, sit down, be quiet, and eat your peas!

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Mark the problem is I cannot

Mark the problem is I cannot see anyone needing to raise that much money for an election campaign...if people want to give money to something then there are plenty of worthwhile charities they can give to....politicians who want to be elected to office should do it the old fashion way....walk around and meet people one on one....we do NOT need to see all the ads on tv and in the press....besides they all lie anyway so why should they waste money just so more people can hear their lies. And I have better things to spend my money on then to write a check for a moron.

Mark Elliott's picture

Tina, I agree with most of it

Tina, I agree with most of it except "needing to raise money" and the "moron" parts.......If ALL candidates were to stop spending so much it would be great, but they ALL will not, therefore they all WILL have to raise money and spend it just to defend themselves........chicken or the egg?

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Mark again you take only the

Mark again you take only the words you want to see....if you are going to quote something then use the correct words.....i said " needing to raise that much money" key word there being the word "much"....again...your slant...you think you are the only one that knows anything....

Mark Elliott's picture

Completely irrelevant to my

Completely irrelevant to my point Tina. I was merely referencing that "part" of your comment, but you go ahead and believe what you like.....my life is fine without your approval and I sleep well.

 's picture

The fifty percent rule

I believe that if no one receives half of the popular vote in any election, then the two highest candidates should have a run off and the one who achieves a total of 50% or higher should be declared the winner. Although this process might cost more, it assures that in the end the people of Maine get a Governor who is wanted by the majority and not a process like the City of Portland had where second third forth, fifth etc choices determined the outcome. Perhaps that could work with smaller communities, but not the whole state of Maine. Will our Governor push for such a change? I doubt that will happen as he was elected one way and would not favor a method in which he might not get elected too. The state constitution woul have to be change, but as the Republicans hold a majority in both houses and the Governor ship as well NOW IS THE TIME TO PROVE THAT THEY WANT AND CAN BE A POSITIVE FORCE FOR THE STATE'S FUTURE ELECTIONS... I hope that they all read this and take notice.

 's picture

You all seem to forget that

You all seem to forget that Baldachi was elected with a margin less than Governor LePage. Our campaigner in chief in DC has been running since he was elected the first time and expects to raise 1 billion dollars for his re-election run. How many citizens would that help? Governor LePage is doing a good job and I say good for him. Finally a governor that is trying to get costs under control.

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