Candidates for Maine governor have spent millions of dollars on out-of-state campaign and media consultants in the lead up to the Nov. 8 election, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

The reports also break down the smaller line items for in-state spending, from lawn signs and mailers to a lobster meal and a pig roast.

Gov. Janet Mills speaks during a gubernatorial debate against former Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Spending in this year’s gubernatorial race between incumbent Democrat Janet Mills and Republican Paul LePage has reached $23 million, $16.6 million of which has come from outside groups not affiliated with any candidate. That’s already a record for a Maine gubernatorial general election, surpassing the $18.7 million spent in 2014, but still well below the $92 million spent on the 2020 U.S. Senate race between Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democrat Sarah Gideon.

Each gubernatorial campaign announced its overall fundraising totals Friday, but detailed reports about donors and campaign spending were not available until the weekend.

Out-of-state spending is not new for statewide elections in Maine that involve the production of TV ads, although the amount has grown as races have become more expensive.

About 90 percent of the $5.5 million that Mills’ reelection campaign has spent has gone to out-of-state vendors, although most of that came back to Maine to pay for ads on local television, cable and radio stations, the campaign said. About 40 percent of the $2 million spent by LePage, a former two-term governor trying to regain the Blaine House, has gone out of state.


The Mills campaign has paid $3.8 million to Chicago-based AL Media for TV and cable ads, including more than $54,000 for production. More than three quarters of that money came back to Maine to pay for TV, cable and radio ads and in-state production staff, the campaign said.

Former Republican Gov. Paul LePage fields a question from a moderator during a forum at Thomas College in Waterville, Oct. 11, 2022. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

AL Media provides media planning, including overall strategy and planning, and production for progressive political candidates. Its previous clients include President Biden, former President Barack Obama, the Democratic Governors Association, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Georgia senatorial candidate Raphael Warnock and union groups. And Mills hired the company in 2018 to oversee her advertising, spending $1.8 million of her $3.1 million campaign funds on the company’s services.

The campaign also has paid $341,000 to the Alexandria, Virginia-based Run the World Digital for consulting and online fundraising services, and $119,000 to the New York City-based Global Strategy Group for polling and research conducted in January, May, July, September and October.

The report filed with the state identifies about $660,000 as being spent directly in Maine, including on staff salaries.

The campaign is relying on Dale Rand Printing, a Portland-based union print shop, for printing services, spending $62,500 on mailers, buttons and lawn and campaign signs. Another $319,000 went to salaries for local campaign staff. And $138,000 has been spent on direct mail.

LePage, meanwhile, is running a much leaner campaign. Most of his $2 million in spending – $1.2 million – has gone to Maine-based vendors and individuals, including $250,000 on staff salaries.


Nearly $625,000 has been paid to Washington, D.C-based Littlefield Consultants, which also is working on the congressional campaign of Republican Bruce Poliquin. The company is owned by Brent Littlefield. LePage’s chief political adviser, he has directed spending on TV and media production, signs, robocalls and other assorted expenses for LePage.

Littlefield’s previous clients include the Republican National Committee, the Maine Republican Party and the National Republican Campaign Committee, according to his website.

So far, LePage has spent $393,000 on TV ads, $129,000 on social media and $6,490 on radio ads, plus another $42,000 on things like lawn signs and campaign swag, such as pins, T-shirts and bumper stickers. About $99,000 has been spent on mailings and postage.

The campaign has paid for only one poll – an Aug. 30 survey conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Cygnal at a cost of $28,600.

LePage has spent $9,287 directly on Facebook, while Mills’ report only shows $1,000, though additional ads were likely purchased by out-of-state contractors.

LePage is leading the way on food costs. He has spent nearly $10,500 on food for campaign events, ranging from a $15.28 meal for LePage at the Westin in Nashville, Tennessee, to $2,600 paid to Jeff’s Catering and $2,100 to the Pig Kahuna, a Portland caterer that provides pig roasts for events.


Mills, meanwhile, spent about $5,000 on food, ranging from $40.50 meal at Timber Kitchen and Bar in Bangor to $2,030 for a campaign event at Banded Brewing Co. in Biddeford. The campaign also spent $84 for a meeting at Linda Bean’s Lobster Cafe, a restaurant at the Portland International Jetport owned by conservative donor and LePage supporter Linda Bean.

Sam Hunkler is running a low-profile long-shot campaign to be Maine’s next governor in Portland, Oct. 19, 2022. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

LePage also paid $918 to the city of Portland for a “security detail for a crack pipe presser.” That was for a news conference he held in Deering Oaks park trying to blame Mills for an increase in drug use and crime.

Sam Hunkler, a retired physician from Beals with no political experience who is running a long-shot, nontraditional campaign as an independent, has spent $3,864 of his self-imposed limit of $5,000, all of which is self-funded. About half of that money has gone toward campaign signs, $891 has gone toward travel and lodging, $447 has been spent on postage and $216 for his website.


Each candidate filed their last full finance report before Election Day last week. And additional high-profile donors have lined up behind Mills and LePage during the last funding period from Sept. 21 through Oct. 25.

LePage received maximum contributions of $1,725 from the Maine Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Mike’s Clam Shack in Wells, Shawn Moody, Christina Moody, and the Maine Forest Legacy political action committee. Its top donor list includes Weyerhaeuser, a Seattle-based company that owns 1.2 millions of acres of land in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia.

But Forest Legacy PAC appears to be hedging its bets. The group also as donated to Mills, as well as Republican and Democratic legislative campaign committees.

Mills, meanwhile, received maximum contributions from MacDonald’s Corp., Pingree for Congress, Maine Credit Union League, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, Tobacco Free Kids Action and Equality Maine. Jonathan Soros, the son of liberal megadonor George Soros, and his wife, Jennifer Allan Soros, each gave $1,735, as did former Gov. Joseph Brennan, of Portland.

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