Adrienne Bennett, from left, Eric Brakey and Dale Crafts. File photos

Heading into the July 14 primary, the three Republican contenders in Maine’s 2nd District collectively have little more than 10% of the campaign cash held by the man they hope to beat, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a first-term Lewiston Democrat.

Filings with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday show that Golden is sitting on $2 million while the trio of GOP hopefuls together have less than $240,0000.

Among the Republicans, former state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn has raised the most money and has more than twice as much to spend in the last two weeks of the race as his closest competitor, Dale Crafts of Lisbon.

Brakey has raised $800,000 while Crafts has raised $243,000 and Adrienne Bennett of Bangor has taken in $174,000. In addition, Crafts has personally loaned his campaign $87,000.

None of the figures take into account what outside groups are spending on the ranked-choice voting race. A number of political action committees are airing ever more hard-hitting attacks on television and sending out mailers touting or trashing particular candidates.

Polling has been virtually nonexistent in the race, though several insiders from other campaigns say the data they’ve seen makes them think the outcome may well be decided by ranked-choice tallies when the third-place finisher’s votes are redistributed to the two leaders.

That could spell trouble for Brakey, long considered the front-runner, because Crafts and Bennett are far less critical of each other than they are of him.

Bennett, who had trailed in fundraising earlier in the race, attracted more donations than Crafts since April 1, hauling in $90,00 compared to his $65,000. Brakey brought in $150,000 in the same period, which ended June 24.

Golden, who has remained above the fray so far in the campaign, rounded up $480,000 in the same three months.

National observers continue to rate the general election race as leaning slightly toward the Republicans based almost solely on President Donald Trump’s 10-point win in the sprawling district in the 2016 presidential race.

Since then, Golden defeated a two-term Republican, Bruce Poliquin, in the nation’s first federal election employing ranked-choice voting. He may have won without it, but nobody questions that the voting method helped put him over the top.

Early voting is already underway in the primary, which also features a Democratic race for U.S. Senate, bond questions on transportation and broadband spending, and state legislative races.


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