LEWISTON — Mayoral candidate Ben Chin has raised over $63,000 in his campaign for the office so far, reporting Friday that he raised $29,696 during the reporting period from Sept. 1 to Oct. 20.

That, coupled with the $33,000 he had already raised, makes this the most expensive mayoral campaign in the city’s history.

Friday was the deadline for candidates for elected office to file their 11-day pre-election campaign finance reports. It was the day voters learned who is funding the candidates and what candidates are spending.

In Lewiston’s mayoral race, Chin has raised more and spent more money than all other candidates by a large margin.

As of Aug. 31 — six weeks ago — Chin had raised $33,733. When filing his campaign finance report with City Hall on Friday Chin reported an additional $29,696.

That compares to $1,567 raised by incumbent Mayor Robert Macdonald to date, $9,170 raised by candidate Steve Morgan, $375 by Luke Jensen and $221 by Charles Soule.


Chin issued a news release after he filed the report noting there were 386 individual donors listed, “for an average contribution of just $77.”

Of those 386 donors, 112 — 29 percent of all donors — list out-of-state addresses.

Only 26 of Chin’s donors listed Lewiston addresses, collectively donating $3,365. Of those, the largest was $750 from Shankman and Associates.

Chin’s remaining donations all came from elsewhere in Maine.

Among Chin’s donations are four separate $50 donations from Jesse Graham, the executive director of the Maine People’s Alliance where Chin works as the political engagement director. Gen Lysen, the MPA’s lead organizer and Androscoggin Valley Chapter Organizer, made a single $150 donation; the agency’s associate director, Amy Halsted, made a $50 donation to the campaign; and MPA’s major gifts director Phil Bailey donated $10.

The remaining donations detailed in the report are a who’s who of progressive causes and offices, including Andrew Roth-Wells, chief of staff of the Maine House Majority Office; Jonathan Asen, senior adviser to the speaker of the Maine House; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Environment Maine; the Washington, D.C.-based New Venture Fund; ProgressNowNM in New Mexico; the National People’s Action Committee; Maine Equal Justice Partners; PWA Coalition of Dallas, Texas; Rick Redmond, the political director of the Boston-based AIPAC; and Anthony DeAngelo, the press secretary for the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C.


Chin also received a $50 donation from a lawyer with Pfizer, a $33 donation from Daniel Aiello, a financial analyst with the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, and $50 from Alex Morse, mayor of the city of Holyoke, Mass. He received a number of donations from family members and employees of his alma mater, Bates College.

One of Chin’s largest expenditures went to his employer, with $3,083 paid for consulting, office services and equipment to the Maine People’s Alliance, and he spent $1,500 with the Maine Democratic Party for field and communication services.

He has spent $7,281 for direct mail costs since Sept. 1, and has placed more than $800 in promotional ads on Facebook.

And, he paid $2,650 to Washington, D.C.-based Lincoln Park Strategies, a polling firm, for message research.

According to Chin’s finance report, he had nearly $26,000 in cash remaining.

Chin’s earlier campaign report, filed Aug. 31, showed a little more than $7,000 of the donations came from out-of-state sources, including New York, California, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Donors in Lewiston contributed $5,351, followed by Portland donors at $4,637 and Auburn donors at $2,950.


According to Mayor Macdonald’s finance report, which was the first to be filed at City Hall on Friday, the incumbent has raised $1,567.10 to date. Of that, $317.10 was carried over from a previous campaign, and the remainder is made up of cash donations from friends and small-business owners, all of whom live in Lewiston. The largest contribution of $500 was made by Lewiston businessman Dave Gendron.

Macdonald’s only expenditure for his campaign is $499 to pay for political advertising with Turner Publishing, leaving him $1,068.10 to spend on the remainder of the campaign, in addition to whatever additional donations he receives.

Candidate Steve Morgan has raised $9,170 and reports spending $5,544 on advertising, signs, supplies and campaign entertainment.

Of Morgan’s reported donations, $6,000 were self-funded. Morgan received additional donations from 11 self-employed businesspeople, most of whom operate in Lewiston.

Jensen’s contributors are all family members, including his grandmother, Noella Breton of Lewiston, his mother, who lives in Arizona, his uncle, Paul Robinson, who lives in Lewiston, and a brother, who lives out of state. Jensen contributed $100 to his own campaign, and has spent $63.18 of those contributions on white and red duct tape to help weatherproof his political signs for storage.

He did not buy new signs for the mayoral campaign but recycled signs he had made during a previous run for the Legislature.


While filing his report at City Hall on Friday, Jensen remarked his was a “low-budget” campaign.

Candidate Charles Soule has raised $221. With the exception of a $6 donation from Craig Saddlemire, a local filmmaker and housing advocate, Soule has self-funded his campaign. Saddlemire also donated $130 to Chin.

Soule spent $100 for political advertising with the Sun Journal, and most of the remaining money for photocopy fees.

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