Mills, LaMarche qualify to get public funding


BANGOR (AP) – Two more candidates for governor, Republican Peter Mills and Maine Green Independent Pat LaMarche, have submitted enough petitions and qualifying donations to qualify for public funds for their campaigns.

Both candidates turned in more than 2,600 donations of $5, exceeding the minimum necessary to qualify by about 100 donations apiece, according to the Maine Commission of Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices.

Maine’s Clean Elections Act allows gubernatorial and legislative candidates to use public money if they demonstrate public support and agree to abide by spending limits.

Mills, a state senator from Cornville, and LaMarche, the Greens’ 1998 nominee for governor, each will receive $200,000 in public money for their respective primaries if state elections officials certify their submissions.

The only gubernatorial candidate to qualify so far for public campaign money is state Sen. Chandler Woodcock, a Farmington Republican. Another Republican, former U.S. Rep. David Emery, is running a privately financed campaign.

Emery, Mills and Woodcock are vying against each other in what’s viewed as the most competitive primary contest this year.

Mills and Woodcock could qualify for up to an additional $400,000 for the primary if Emery spends more than $200,000 in the race.

LaMarche, of Yarmouth, is running unopposed in her bid for the Green Party nomination. As a result, she is all but assured another $400,000, and perhaps double that, in public funds for the general election in November.

LaMarche said the money will level the playing field.

“Angus King used his personal wealth to upset the apple cart,” LaMarche said of the independent governor’s successful – and largely self-financed – candidacy. “This time, it’s the wealth of the people of Maine that will upset the apple cart.”

Democratic Gov. John Baldacci of Bangor is running a privately financed campaign, as is his primary opponent, Christopher Miller of Gray.

Independent gubernatorial candidates have until June 2 to submit the needed donations.

Information from: Bangor Daily News,

AP-ES-04-18-06 1045EDT