AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and state Senate President Kevin Raye, his Republican challenger, posted nearly identical fundraising figures during the third quarter, with the Democratic incumbent raising just $6,000 more than Raye, according to fundraising totals released by each campaign.
Michaud, a Democrat running for a sixth term in the House, added $215,000 to his campaign bank account between July 1 and Sept. 30. The figure brings his total fundraising for the campaign cycle to more than $1.1 million. The campaign had $621,000 left to spend as of Sept. 30 after spending $229,000 during the quarter.
Raye raised about $209,000 during the third-quarter, bringing his total campaign fundraising to more than $560,000.
Michaud’s campaign released its full quarterly finance report Monday afternoon. Raye’s campaign hadn’t finalized other figures in its report, including how much it spent and how much cash the campaign had left to spend going into the final weeks of the campaign.
Michaud’s campaign spokesman, Dan Cashman, said the campaign has been meeting “aggressive” fundraising goals each quarter. Kathie Summers, a consultant to Raye, said the Republican’s third-quarter fundraising total was a promising sign for a challenger.
“Anytime you’re neck and neck with an incumbent, you’re doing OK,” she said.
The fundraising numbers for the third quarter contrasted with figures from the most recent five-week fundraising period in the spring, from May 24 to June 30, when Raye took in more money than Michaud. During that five-week period, Raye collected $165,000 in campaign contributions while Michaud took in $109,000.
The numbers were due for submission to the Federal Election Commission as an advertising war between the two candidates heats up.
Michaud’s finance report shows he raised more than half of his third-quarter contributions, $114,000, from political action committees. He received help from committees representing the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the American Forest and Paper Association, the National Rifle Association, AT&T, Boeing, General Dynamics, Texas Instruments and other companies, trade organizations and unions.
Personal contributions came from a range of Maine business owners, hospital and credit union officials, lawyers and a few Democratic politicians, including U.S. Senate candidate Cynthia Dill and 2010 gubernatorial candidates Rosa Scarcelli and Patrick McGowan.
Michaud and Raye’s ad war started earlier this month when Raye started airing a humorous TV spot that hit Michaud for leasing a car at taxpayer expense for $800 a month for use when he’s in Maine, for his vote supporting the Obama administration’s health care reform law and for his “0” rating from the National Federation of Independent Business, a conservative group that has endorsed Raye.
The ad features two women sitting at a kitchen table while they criticize Michaud.
Michaud shot back last week with an ad that accuses Raye of spending $20,000 to remodel a State House lounge for Senate Republicans and install a kitchen in his office. The ad uses a stock photo of a luxurious kitchen, not a photo from Maine’s State House.
Raye’s campaign responded that the Senate president spent $9,000 — not $20,000 — to install a coffee station and sink, not a full kitchen, in a reception area outside his office. He didn’t redecorate a State House lounge for Republican senators, the campaign said.
The campaign called on Michaud to pull the ad and touted the spot as a sign the Michaud-Raye race is tightening up, despite three September polls that showed Michaud leading Raye by 15-20 percentage points. Those polls all had Michaud above the 50 percent support level.
To show a tightening race, Raye’s campaign released internal polling data showing Michaud leading Raye 47-40. The polling data are from a survey of 1,242 likely voters in the 2nd District conducted by two firms working for Raye on Oct. 10 and 11.
In response to the release of Raye’s internal polling data, Michaud campaign released polling data of its own showing Michaud with 58-33 lead over his challenger. The poll, done by an outside firm, surveyed 400 likely voters in the 2nd District on Oct. 8 and 9.
Raye’s poll was conducted using an automated phone survey by Eaton River Strategies and Scientific Marketing, both of which have done polling for GOP clients. The survey had a 2.8 percent margin of error.
Eaton River Strategies is owned by Summers, the consultant to Raye’s campaign, and Scientific Marketing is owned by former U.S. Rep. David Emery, a Republican who represented Maine’s 1st District in Congress from 1975 to 1983. Emery also served in Gov. Paul LePage’s administration, as deputy commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, until this past summer.
Michaud’s poll was conducted by Normington Petts, a firm in Washington, D.C., with a number of Democratic clients. The survey, which was conducted using a live interviewer, had a 4.9 percent margin of error.