AUGUSTA – Pat LaMarche, the Green Independent Party candidate for governor, has moved closer to qualifying for public financing of her campaign.

On Friday, she submitted more than 2,500 signatures and qualifying contributions to the Maine ethics commission. If the commission certifies the submissions, LaMarche will be eligible for an initial distribution of $200,000 to fund her primary campaign and an additional $400,000 to run in the general election. She would also be eligible for matching contributions of up to $800,000 if another candidate in the race or outside groups exceed state spending limits.

“This is an important milestone in any campaign,” LaMarche said in a prepared statement. “It shows the people of Maine are not only willing to sign petitions to support my candidacy, but they are willing to donate their hard-earned money.”

LaMarche was the Green Party’s nominee for vice president in 2004. Headed by David Cobb, the Green ticket received 2,936 votes in Maine. Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, carried the state with 396,842 votes. President George W. Bush received 330,201.

In the 2002 governor’s race, Green Independent candidate Jonathan Carter captured 46,903 votes in a four-way race. Gov. John Baldacci won with 238,179 votes.

To qualify for public financing in the governor’s race, a candidate must submit 2,500 $5 checks made out to the Clean Election Fund.

LaMarche is the third candidate to file so far for Clean Election funding. State Sens. Chandler Woodcock, R-Farmington, and Peter Mills, R-Skowhegan, who are seeking the Republican nomination, submitted their signatures and qualifying contributions April 6. Woodcock’s has been certified as a Clean Election candidate; the ethics commission is still reviewing Mills’ materials.

Baldacci, a Democrat, and former Congressman Dave Emery, who’s running in the Republican primary against Mills and Woodcock, are not seeking Clean Election funding. Nine unenrolled independents also have announced their intention to run.

The deadline for party-affiliated candidates, including those running for the Legislature, to qualify for public financing is April 18. Unenrolled candidates have until June 2 to turn in signatures and qualifying contributions.