Mills and LePage pile up campaign funds for gubernatorial race

·3 min read

Jan. 18—Gov. Janet Mills raised more than $1 million for her re-election during the past six months, while former Gov. Paul LePage raised $900,000 to support his bid to unseat her, their campaigns announced on Tuesday.

Semi-annual campaign finance reports due Tuesday provide the first look at the financial support for those who are intending to seek the Blaine House this fall.

Mills and LePage, who are expected to face off in November, lead the fundraising race by far and both campaigns touted the breadth of their grassroots campaigns Tuesday.

Mills' campaign noted that more than 4,750 people from all 16 counties had donated. LePage's campaign noted that more than 3,000 people from over 400 Maine town and cities had donated.

While Mills and LePage had similar fundraising totals in the past six months, Mills' earlier fundraising success means her campaign has significantly more money to spend. The Mills campaign reported $1.28 million in cash on hand compared to $600,00 for LePage, who announced his intentions in July and launched his campaign in September.

Both Mills, the Democratic incumbent from Farmington, and LePage, a Republican former two-term governor who lives in Edgecomb, have targeted each other in fundraising appeals, although both face possible opponents in their parties' primaries.

Several other potential candidates, including two Republicans and two Democrats, have filed paperwork to begin raising money for gubernatorial campaign. Each individual needs to secure at least 2,000 valid signatures by March 15 to force primaries.

Other possible candidates include Chelsea Republican Michael Heath, who raised nearly $4,270 and had $1,533 remaining; John Glowa, Sr., a South China Democrat running as a clean elections candidate has raised $1,962 and has $51 in debt; and Limington Green Independent Michael Barden, a clean elections candidate who has raised nearly $300. Portland Democrat Kenneth Capron, also a clean elections candidate has raised $60.

Martin Vachon, a Mariaville Republican, and Harrison Kemp, an Old Town Libertarian, had not filed their reports as of Tuesday afternoon.

Copies of Mills' and LePage's full report were not immediately available online.

But her campaign said Mills, the Democratic incumbent from Farmington, has now raised over $1.6 million for her re-election and currently has nearly $1.28 million on hand. The campaign said donations came from each of Maine's 16 counties and 99.5 percent were made by individuals, who gave an average of $116.

Alexandra Raposo, Campaign Manager for the Janet Mills for Governor Campaign, said the "strong" fundraising report signals support for the incumbents re-election campaign.

Brent Littlefield, a campaign consultant for LePage, who has about $600,000 on hand, said in a news release that numbers show that LePage's quest for a third term is "building the infrastructure needed to win this fall."

The fundraising totals reflect strong interest in the race 10 months before the general election. By comparison, Mills raised a total of about $3 million for her successful 2018 run and her Republican opponent, Shawn Moody, raised $1.8 million.